July 29, 2008

County Commissioners Approve Plan to Save Money on Electricity

By David Tewes, Victoria Advocate, Texas

Jul. 29--Victoria County could be involved in a power struggle by the end of the year.

But officials said it's a struggle that will only benefit the taxpayers by cutting the county's cost for electricity to power county buildings.

"There is no doubt in my mind we will be able to save money," County Judge Don Pozzi said. "I can't give you a figure until I see what the rate is."

The commissioners court voted in May to begin withdrawing from the Public Power Pool. Public Power Pool is a group of about 81 cities, counties, school districts and other governments that pool their buying power to purchase electricity at a discounted price.

The commissioner court on Monday approved an agreement with Massachusetts-based World Energy Solutions Inc. to find a retail electric provider to provide the county's power.

David Morrison, a World Energy representative, said there would be a bidding process that allows power providers to keep lowering prices. At the end of the "auction," the company with the lowest price would get the county's business.

Glencora Campbell with GSE Consulting in Houston said her company would continually monitor prices after a provider is selected. "If the market does come down, we have the authority to renegotiate."

But Pozzi said the county's rate will not exceed the initially negotiated price. It can only go down.

Morrison said there is no charge to the county for his service. World Energy instead collects a fee from the electric provider.

The motion to hire World Energy was approved unanimously, with Commissioner Wayne Dierlam absent and Commissioner Kevin Janak abstaining.

Janak, who did most of the research for the project, abstained because he works for a power generator.


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