Clarksdale Public Utilities general manager Curtis Boschert has been in his position for three months and has put forth proposals that could save customers money at the last two board meetings.
At a special called meeting on Tuesday, he presented a potential power purchase contract with the company NextEra that could save CPU $1 million in the next seven years and keep customers’ rates from increasing.
“We’ve been looking at ways to try to stabilize our rates going forward,” Boschert said. “We’ve been working with the NextEra people. We’ve had a business relationship with them. We discussed the possibility of extending it out. The gas prices are such that I think it’s a good deal for us.”
Boschert said CPU currently purchases approximately 65 percent of its power from Cleco, about 30 percent from NextEra and about five percent from Southeastern Power Association.
One proposal was for a 10 megawatt additional purchase from NextEra. That could cause CPU to pay less for its megwatts and cause the $1 million savings. The additional 10 megawatts would mean CPU would purchase close to 60 percent of its power from NextEra beginning in 2023. At that point, CPU would negotiate where the final 30 percent of its power comes from.
The savings for CPU would begin in January 2019.
Boschert said he will be meeting with the Yazoo City’s power company and the Mississippi Delta Energy Agency later this week to finalize the numbers.
Both CPU and Yazoo City are under the MDEA.
“We’re joined with Yazoo City as an action agency for power purchases,” Boschert said. “We purchase power through their entity.”
Boschert said the numbers will be announced with the savings of megawatt purchases once the deal is finalized.
“It goes a long way toward CPU not having to raise rates over the next 10 years,” Boschert said. “It doesn’t guarantee that, but what we’re looking at is we’re going to lock in a lower price than what we’re paying. It’s almost $20 less a megawatt.”
Boschert did say he did not expect the savings to impact the budget, but there could be changes in that area, regardless.
“We’re looking at revising our budget anyway, but I don’t think this will have to cause us to change it either up or down,” he said.
The board unanimously approved getting rid of fees for the customer Pic-A-Due Date program at the last meeting.
Boschert said another way he is attempting to work with customers is through their bills.
“Our bill did not rate out their fuel charge,” he said. “It was just one lump sum, so you didn’t know what that was separate and apart from the rate you were charged. So now, we’re breaking that out and working with the billing company.
“I did see the amount put in, but we also want them to put in the rate that reflects that amount, so then people can better understand how their bill got to be what it is and how it’s calculated.”