Flat energy rate could save costs


Local News

September 5, 2018 - 11:29 AM

MORAN — Moran City Council members will soon decide from whom the city will continue to purchase electricity.
Council members were presented Tuesday with a proposal from Westar that would pare the city’s cost to buy electricity by roughly 25 percent.
Bill Shupe, representing Westar, handed over the proposal, which could be good for five or seven years. The rates for the seven-year contract would be a bit higher, he acknowledged.
Westar’s proposal would cut Moran’s wholesale energy costs to 52 cents per kilowatt hour. The current rate is in the 80 cents-per-kilowatt hour range.
Shupe noted the proposal eliminates such things as demand charges, higher rates assessed to customers during times of heavy usage, and is fixed for all five years of the contract.
“The benefits are it’s a flat energy rate,” Shupe said. “It’s easier to budget and it gives you peace of mind.”
It also protects the city from volatile energy markets, he stressed.
“There’s some real value in having that fixed term,” Shupe said.
Westar is one of two energy groups to propose selling electricity to the city when Moran’s current contract expires with Westar in 2020.
The Kansas Municipal Energy Agency made its proposal — 53 cents per kilowatt hour — in August.
The proposals do not include energy transportation costs, which are independent of who supplies the electricity, Council members noted.
As an aside, Council members voted, 5-0, to join KMEA to utilize the agency’s expertise as energy consultants.
E.J. AND Barb Siefker were on hand to speak about their planned gift to the city, the Back 40 antiques store building.
The Siefkers are donating the facility, which they built in 2009, to Moran with the hope the city can use it as a museum.
They presented appraisals of the building and property to City Attorney Bret Heim, who is drawing up a contract so they can complete the transfer.
“We’ve been here in Moran for more than 60 years,” E.J. Siefker joked. “It’s about time we give you something.”
CITY crews will begin monitoring wastewater at specific points around town to pinpoint the source of high-strength waste that’s entering Moran’s sewage lagoons.
Jeff Lampers, a representative from the Kansas Rural Water Association, told Council members the lagoons have been flagged by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for violating discharge limits at various times in the recent past.
The discharged water is tested for such things as bacteria, he explained. Moran’s water is fine in that capacity.
However, samples measuring how much organic material remains in the wastewater indicates Moran’s has too much biochemical oxygen demand. If left unchecked, the excess organic material can cause algae buildup and kill fish, he explained.
A closer inspection of the lagoons has eliminated other possible sources, such as sludge accumulation and improper flow through the lagoon pools.
“Maintenance issues are not an issue here,” Lampers said.
City Superintendent Mike Stodgell said he would begin testing promptly and talk with business owners to determine where the high-strength waste is coming from.
Lampers stressed the importance of handling the matter promptly.
“You don’t want to go down this road where KDHE tells you to hire an engineer, because then you’re into an expensive project to remedy this.”


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