Residents could see savings, losses

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 12, 2009

Brundidge residents could see savings and losses if the Brundidge City Council decides to go with recommendations made by hired engineers.

During last week’s council meeting, Max Mobley, of Polyengineering and David St. John of St. John Engineers presented the council with what they believed would put the city on track to have self-sufficient utilities.

According to City Manager Britt Thomas, the average utility customer in Brundidge uses 5,300 gallons of water per month and 977 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month.

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Previously, Mobley and St. John showed their respective scenarios for what their recommendations would do to residents’ bills.

But, at Thursday’s budget hearing Thomas showed the council how it would affect Brundidge residents by using actual numbers from recent utility bills.

“I wanted to show you where we are and what you’ll do to everyone (if you pass the recommendations), Thomas said. “We went ahead and incorporated the recommendations of the two engineers. We did it so you can see what it will do to the budget. We’ll show you individual cases so you’ll see what it will mean for your constituents.”

A main concern was how it would affect customers who do not use a lot of kilowatt-hours.

Thomas showed the council several scenarios based on the amount of kilowatt-hours and gallons of water used.

For example, a customer who uses only a 191 kilowatt hours of electricity and no water would have to pay $22.17 extra a month.

A person who uses 235-kilowatt hours of electricity and 1,400 gallons of water would have to pay an additional $23.26 per month.

A person who uses 314-kilowatt hours and 10,200 gallons of water would pay an extra $30.73, while a person who uses 512-kilowatt hours and 45,400 gallons of water would have to pay $60.96 extra.

“Water consumption gets these people,” Thomas said.

Customers start to see savings when there electric usage is higher and their water is kept to about average.

For example, a customer who uses 1,660-kilowatt hours and 4,000 gallons of water would save $2.08.

A customer who uses 3,199-kilowatt hours and 8,700 gallons of water would save $20.26.

“This is because the customer saves $40.55 on electricity,” Thomas said. “We would charge 7.5 cents for the first 300 kilowatt hours of electricity and 9.1 cents for everything after that.”

“Thing that is really affecting it is how much water you are using,” Thomas said. “But those are the customers who are draining the tank and making the pumps come on.”

According to Thomas, if the council decides to pass the new electric rates it would be less than Alabama Power Co.

“If you adopt the new rates the customers in Brundidge would pay $126.36 with taxes on 1,000 kilowatt hours,” Thomas said. “Gulf Power Co. pays $124.03. Alabama Power Co. pays $130.88.”

Currently, residents pay $135.86 for 1,000-kilowatt hours.

With the recommended rate changes the average resident would pay an extra $11.87 per month and an extra $144 per year.

“It doesn’t help all customers, but it helps the majority,” Thomas said.

It’s unclear how the council will vote, but several members did voice their opinions.

Councilmember Lawrence Bowden, who represents District 1 said he thought the city needed to be on firm financial ground, but said he didn’t feel right saving $10 per month, while others paid an extra $10 a month.

Councilmember Vernon Jackson, who represents District 3 said he felt it wasn’t a good use of the city’s money to hire engineers to make recommendations and not take their advice.