While no official recommendation was made due to the lack of a quorum Tuesday night for the Trenton Utility Committee, the City Council will take a look at increasing the base electric rate by seven dollars for residential customers in Trenton.
This is primarily a monthly charge for having an electric meter. The current rate at Trenton is $14. Officials propose a rate of $21 per month. Utility Director Ron Urton explained bills for electricity are determined on “fixed costs” or assets plus the amount of power purchased to meet the energy needs and cost of operations which is always a variable figure.
TMU is looking to increase just the base rate to cover fixed costs incurred on the loan obtained this spring due to purchasing additional power to meet consumer demand during the extreme cold spell in February. Trenton Municipal’s increased purchase power cost is $785,000 which is being paid back at a rate of $12,000 monthly. With 3,000 meters in Trenton, that’s $4 per meter. If the base rate is not adjusted, Urton said the structured payback would have to come out of electric fund reserves.
TMU obtained base rate comparisons from Chillicothe, Gallatin, and Macon which are higher; and from Bethany and Cameron which are lower. But Urton said a review of the lower two indicates usage per kilowatt-hour begins at a higher figure than Trenton, then lowers as more power is consumed. The end result is a higher bill at 1,500-kilowatt-hours used than Trenton. A chart showed a current charge of ten cents per kilowatt-hour and a total bill of $164 for 1500 kilowatt-hours. The ten cents per kilowatt-hour remains whether or not the base electric rate is increased.
The city council also will consider installing a security gate at the Trenton water reservoir in an effort to reduce vandalism and trash. Individuals who fish at the reservoir would be issued a key for the gate when they pay a $10 per year fee.
The city will be advertising a “request for qualifications” for an outside firm to conduct a study of water and sewer rates. Also to be advertised will be a request for bids on tree trimming from power lines and lime sludge removal. These are budgeted items for Trenton Municipal.
During a financial review of TMU, it was announced the disinfection and headworks project has been completed at the sewer treatment plant. All retainage and remaining costs were paid late last month including the final invoiced amount from the Burns and McDonnell Engineering firm.
Also reviewed were June statistics regarding Trenton’s electricity use as provided by the Missouri public energy pool.
When the power went out city-wide late last week, Water Plant Supervisor Steve Reid said the one person on duty late at night received over 300 phone calls in 50 minutes. Rollovers occur on the four available lines. Reid said the operator was able to answer only 64 calls; 25 voice mails were left, and others received no response when calls were made. The water plant’s phone number is the emergency, or after hours, line for Trenton Municipal. The city-wide power outage lasted 50 minutes.
Department head reports were given by Kenny Ricketts, Brad Griffin, Steve Reid, and Bob Hutchinson. Dave Mlika was the only councilman to attend the meeting thus the lack of a quorum — so information presented was for discussion.