Councilman Jim King will attend the Marietta Board of Lights and Water meeting today at 3 p.m. and report on it during the agenda review session today at 6 p.m. at City Hall.
The BLW agenda includes an appearance by Municipal Electric Association of Georgia President and CEO Bob Johnston “to discuss 2013 wholesale power costs and future challenges” in an item titled 2013 MEAG Power Cost Increases.
“Our biggest supplier will explain why rates will go up,” Mayor Steve Tumlin said during a City Council agenda work session Monday night.
King said Tuesday the board, of which he is a member, will vote on electric rates.
The board’s vote will then be brought before the City Council for approval or denial of the board’s action.
King said the potential rate hikes, announced in May as 5 percent, won’t affect pocketbooks too much.
“We’re only talking about a few dollars a month,” he said.
Current rates are about 10 cents per kilowatt hour.
Residential consumption rates vary from 250 kWh to 2,000 kWh per month, according to Marietta Power and Water.
In January, electricity rates increased about 5 percent, or about $4 per average household.
King said capital costs, specifically, federally mandated measures from the Environmental Protection Agency, are costing MEAG and other power plant operators “millions of dollars” in expenses.
“They’re taking coal equipment offline, running it through a scrubber and making the output much cleaner,” he said. “We’ve been doing this for a number of years. It’s continuing on.”
Another factor is a surplus in supply, caused by the economic downturn.
“We’re not selling energy in the marketplace like we have been,” King said. “We’re not making the extra revenue we were used to, and our costs are fixed.”
MEAG spokesman Scott Jones said Tuesday that Johnston’s presentation at the BLW will elaborate on the effects of the unfunded EPA mandate.
“Bob is planning to talk about cost pressures on the electrical industry that we are feeling in increased costs on the wholesale side. That obviously puts pressure on the cities who set rates for their customers,” Jones said.
Jones agreed with King about the supply.
“We are generating more than we need,” Jones said. “Supply has stayed up where it was because we built power plants.”
This does not lead to lower rates because it causes a hardship for the suppliers.
“We’re having trouble finding more users,” Jones said. “We don’t have a place to put our commodity.”
Electricity cannot be stockpiled or warehoused until demand improves, he said.
“The unique thing about electricity that causes it to be a different kind of commodity is you cannot store it,” Jones said. “Every utility in every community is feeling the same pressures. We have excess generation capacity and we have something that can’t be used to its full potential.”
The work session Monday night also discussion of a rezoning case for 25 Trammel St., owned by David Youssi of YREI; a second reading of the reapportionment ordinance, which will have its second reading tonight followed by a vote, and a variance request for QuikTrip Corporation as reported in the Tuesday edition of the Journal.
Consent agenda items, to be approved without discussion, include:
n Appointments to the boards of Zoning Appeals, Civil Service and the Marietta Museum of History;
n An agreement with Cobb County regarding federal funding for a pedestrian safety project on S. Marietta Blvd.;
n Denial of a claim by Nanette L. Harris regarding a fender-bender with a city employee; the action will give the city more time to respond to the complaint;
n A donation to the tree preservation fund by Whiteway Outdoor Advertising;
n A budget amendment, previously reported in the Journal, to settle up fiscal 2012;
n Replacement of a decorative bus shelter on Powder Springs Street;
n Legal advertising to begin on commercial and residential properties to be annexed;
n An information technology department reorganization;
n A traffic signal installation at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital on Tower Road at North Avenue;
n Traffic calming devices for Hickory Drive and Evelyn Street;
n Naming a previously unnamed city street intersecting with Roswell Street to Wilson Drive; and
n Installing “No Parking” signs on both sides of the newly named street.