By Jonathan Weaver
Armstrong County Commissioners continue to save money at the electric meter for the next few years after new contracts were signed earlier this month.
Financial Advisor Carly Cowan announced the agreement with Constellation NewEnergy to provide electric service for 41 of the County accounts at yesterday morning’s public meeting in the Courthouse Administration Building.
Thursday’s approval was an acknowledgement, since the contracts were actually approved during a Commissioners work session May 6.
The three-year contract – from June 1, 2014 until February 2017 – locks in rates at 6.88 cents per kilowatt hour.
The 41 locations affected – including the Armstrong County Agency on Aging, Children, Youth and Family Services in Kittanning and several 9-1-1 towers -account for about 1/3rd of the overall electrical consumption paid for by the County.
The contract was brokered through On Demand Energy Solutions – a Pittsburgh- based company that partners with NorthTech Partners, Inc. in the Northpointe Industrial Park in South Buffalo Township.
Cowan praised their efforts.
“They grouped all these together to get the best price, and Constellation NewEnergy was the lowest priced supplier,” Cowan said. “What we’ve been seeing in the market is that prices just keep increasing month-after-month. I did expect it to go up. This rate is not much higher than before.”
Some of the bidders were not able to do consolidated billing, which effected the end contract agreement
FirstEnergy held the previous contract for many of the accounts, but were outbid for these renewals – and Cowan said those pennies can make an impact when reviewing budget figures over time.
“FirstEnergy’s rate was 7.9 cents if we responded to them by May 9, and that was only through June 2016. If we didn’t respond by that date, their rate was going to be 8.31 cents,” Cowan said. “I had done some calculations, and the usage for these 41 accounts was 1.5 million kilowatts per year, so even a cent difference could have nearly a $15,000 difference on an annual basis.
“It doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but when you look at it overall, it can have a big impact”
In February, commissioners signed a three-year electric contract with FirstEnergy for the county’s six largest accounts – which include the Courthouse Administration Building in Kittanning, the Armsdale Administration Building in Rayburn Township and the Belmont Complex in East Franklin Township – at 6.45 cents per kilowatt.
Signing the contract in February also saved approximately $3,000 in projected cost.
Commissioner Richard Fink thanked Cowan for her work on the time-sensitive matter.
“The reason time was of-the-essence was so Constellation could go out and get the meter reads for all the accounts. They have meter reads at all different times of the month, but in order for them to get it for June 1, they needed the go-ahead earlier,” Cowan said.
The most-recent costs are locked into a 33-month contract to conclude at the same time as the original six accounts.
In other news, Commissioner Bob Bower was approved by the other two commissioners for re-appointment to the Armstrong County Redevelopment Authority for another five years.
Bower has served with the Redevelopment Authority since 1984.
Commissioner David Battaglia thanked Commissioner Bower for his service.
“He’s setting an example for others, and we certainly appreciate it,” Battaglia said.