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Esky to lower electric rates

May 4, 2012
By Jenny Lancour - Staff Writer , Daily Press

ESCANABA - Electric rates in Escanaba will be going down, the city manager told council at its regular meeting Thursday.

During an update on the sale of the city's power plant, City Manager Jim O'Toole briefly commented that an electric rate study will be presented next week at the Electrical Advisory Committee (EAC) meeting and said, "Electric rates are going down."

When questioned by the Daily Press after the meeting, O'Toole confirmed that electric rates will be lowered for the city's electric customers.

The anticipated drop in rates is mainly due to the city contracting to buy power from an energy supplier and due to the city controlling fixed costs on the power plant, he explained.

Details on the city's electric rates will be presented during a joint meeting of council and the EAC which begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday at city hall.

Results of an electric rate study will outline proposed rates for different scenarios including the sale of the power plant or the potential idling of the plant, O'Toole said. The study will also compare Escanaba's power rates to other municipalities, he added.

During council's meeting Thursday, O'Toole said the city continues to negotiate the sale of the power plant to Escanaba Green Energy which plans to convert the coal-fueled facility to burn biomass.

"We continue to work on the asset purchase agreement with Escanaba Green Energy," O'Toole said. "We will be meeting with the attorneys to get an asset purchase agreement signed in very short order."

The city is selling the power plant because of the expense of generating energy from coal compared to buying energy off the market.

In other business, council approved the purchase of chemicals for the water and wastewater plants. Council also approved a $2,000 grant from the Community Foundation for Delta County to pay $900 for a medicine collection container and $1,100 towards a drug-tracking dog.

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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143,



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