Through a program endorsed by the Rural Municipality Association (RMA), the County of Paintearth retained Unified Energy 8760 to review its electricity distribution and transmission costs to ATCO to see about saving some costs.
In a report from last month, they recommended one site that could be an opportunity: the Crowfoot Reservoir site.
They found the county could save $8,000 per year until they reach $50,000 by changing the building rate and setting a 13 KW minimum rate contract which council agreed to continue with.
One snag was an upfront one-time fee of $20,935 to ATCO Electric to keep them whole on their investment in the service of the site.
Council also decided to extend their contract by two years to 2023 as an industry professional felt this would be the wisest decision as they were unsure of what the electricity market will be by the time their original contract is up for renewal.
“They are recommending that we would sign up on the variable rate and at any time we can switch to fixed. They are just not sure what the capacity market and what the prices are going to look like,” said Lana Roth, director of corporate services at the regular meeting on Tues. June 4.
“We think it would be advantageous to give us the flexibility because they are not confining us in some locked in rate over time but their suggestion is rather than locking in because they think the market is still standing to go down.
It would be better to stay now at a floating rate than locking in at a higher one and losing that flexibility,” added Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michael Simpson.
“The intention of the strategy is to give you maximum flexibility moving forward in managing electricity costs as the dust settles on the capacity market,” said Roth.
This contract solely focuses on the price of power and does not include infrastructure.
The corporate services director spoke highly of their new electric provider.
“We’ve been happy with 8760. It is nice having someone who you can just email if you have questions about your contract or billing changes. They are a lot easier to deal with than who we were dealing with before,” said Roth.
Draft policy fire protection service charges
A policy to outline who will receive fire protection charges was approved. As per council’s request at a prior meeting, a draft policy was created to give council a set of criteria they could use when determining who will be receiving charges for fire department services and who will not if someone were to appeal the bill they received.
“It’s nice to have that criteria I think,” said Doreen Blumhagen, deputy reeve.
“It prevents you from being accused of bias in decision making. It removes that by using a standard set of golden rules. For example, ‘Oh, I know that person. They are rich, they have the money, they can afford to pay the bill’ which is not actually a fair practice,” said CAO Simpson.
If something doesn’t quite work within the policy, they will be allowed to change and or remove what they feel isn’t working by passing a motion.
Public engagement speakers request
CAO Simpson brought forward 10 different public speakers and their platforms forward for council review and consideration.
Councillors will be spending time asking the community what topics they would be interested in.
All had varying prices, topics and influences depending on what would be most beneficial for the county.
Most notably, Patrick Tower of Arizona, a highly decorated combat veteran with over 16 years of continuous education, training and operational experience with the Canadian Forces as well as Doug Griffiths, 13 Ways to Kill Your Community, were options to choose from.