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The steering committee that will make recommendations on how best to cost effectively serve Danville’s electric customers discussed on Monday a range of steps to improve electric utility services and address the concerns of industrial users.
The committee will meet again next week, at which time it expects to complete and adopt recommendations to the City Council and Utility Commission.
At its meeting today, the consensus of the committee was to recommend that the city retain, for now, its electric utility. Instead of selling the utility, the committee discussed whether to recommend the City Council and the Utility Commission first consider the following steps:
• offer industrial customers choice of power suppliers,• hire a power supply consultant to develop a plan to reduce transmission and congestion charges, assist in the planning and purchase of power on the open market, and evaluate the city’s interest in the Prairie State generation facility,• reduce the annual coincidental peak demand,• install electric power generation facilities locally,• study the methodology for determining the Electric Fund contribution to the General Fund.
The committee also discussed whether to recommend making the Utility Commission an independent governing body.
Next week’s committee meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Monday, April 20, in the City Council Chambers at the Municipal Building.
The committee consists of three members from the Danville Utility Commission – Bill Donohue, Phillip Smith and Jim Turpin – and three members of City Council – John Gilstrap, Gary Miller and Fred Shanks. Smith is chairing the committee.
The committee has been meeting since October. It was formed after large industrial customers served by the city pointed out last summer to the Utility Commission that the city’s rate was not competitive when compared to investor-owned utilities in Virginia and the national average. While the city’s electric rate for residential customers is competitive with other power utilities, City Council members last September expressed concerns about future costs associated with purchasing power and transmitting that power to Danville. Those costs could affect current rates.
Danville distributes electricity to approximately 42,000 customer locations in a 500-square-mile service territory covering Danville, the southern third of Pittsylvania County, and small portions of Henry and Halifax counties.