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Village needs to re-think electric rates

To the editor:

Very soon, the Skaneateles Community Center (SCC) will become an electric consumer in the village.

The reason for their switch from National Grid is cost reduction.

In the case of the SCC, managed by the YMCA, they would move into a tariff structure reducing their annual cost by $130,000 from 2012. It’s an admirable change unto itself.

If the current village plan continues it will result in village residents subsidizing the SCC on an ongoing basis.

We presently have a state approved electric rate structure that separates residential users from various forms of higher consumption customers. Our Service Classification no. 3 is for larger consumers such as Tops, the schools, Mirbeau, etc. The present Class 3 energy rate of $0.0157/kWh, along with demand charges, may be appropriate for some of the users in this category, but not the really big ones. We have never recognized this discrepancy but it is now time to do so.

The pending addition of the community center with usage of 150,000 kWh per month provides an opportunity for the creation of a new classification of customers requiring supply greater than, say, 20,000 kWh/month.

A large commercial rate structure along the lines of the Village of Fairport seems to be an appropriate model. There are other communities similar, but I will cite this one. Residential rates are comparable for both communities.

Fairport currently has a commercial classification that charges $0.041 per kWh which would cost the SCC $106,000 per year instead of $65,000 under the current rate.

Last year’s cost for the SCC was about $200,000, so this new proposal still cuts their cost in half.

The present low cost NYPA (power authority) allocation for the village is basically fully utilized and incremental needs are met by purchasing supplemental power at a cost approximately six times the NYPA rate.

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