Newton Falls Council cuts electric rates
Residents will see a major reduction in their electric bills starting in January, some by as much as 9.2 percent.
Council Monday evening unanimously approved an ordinance reducing electricity rates by an average of 5.8 percent, but residential users will benefit from the significantly higher percentage, according to the consulting firm hired to survey the costs of electric service.
“Using an average of 600-kilowatt hours a month, the average resident should see his bill drop from the existing rate of $95/month to $86,” said Aaron Teders, a consultant with Sawvel and Associates based in Findlay.
Figures presented to council show projected rate reductions will be less for commercial and industrial users.
The survey states that the rate cuts will decrease electric department funds by $726,000 in 2024, the same year that departmental debt will be retired and loans paid off.
David Lynch, city manager, said the village will still have “money in hand” to operate but will defer upgrades to the Church Street Substation—one of two maintained by the department—until after 2024.
Teders told council that upgrades in excess of $3 million had been planned for the substation, which can safely operate in its current state.
Bill George, department superintendent, agreed with that assessment.
“I don’t see any issues,” he told council.
The village undertook the rate study after Lynch found that Newton Falls had been paying unusually high prices from American Municipal Power, putting the community at a competitive disadvantage for luring new industry and businesses.
It was also forced to sell its excess electricity on the open market at a loss. Lynch said negotiations with AMP are ongoing. “We’re doing some arm twisting,” he told council.
The rate cut was not the only good news for Newton Falls. Lynch told council he is working on “two major projects” that will bring new business to the village. The manager said he could not discuss specifics, but expects to have one announcement in 60 days and another in six months.
He told reporters afterward he considers both to be important for growth in Newton Falls.
Lynch also said he is hoping for success in the village’s effort to secure two projects from the Ohio Public Works Commission. Although he would not provide further details, Lynch was upbeat about the overall development outlook.
“We are going places, folks,” he said at the conclusion of Monday’s council meeting. “Hang on for the ride.”