BG may try electric credit to jolt industrial growth

Vehtek is one of the city's biggest electric users.

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN

BG Independent News

 

Bowling Green officials hope a new electric credit may get some industries charged up to increase their power usage.

The Board of Public Utilities recently discussed adoption of a development electric rate rider, which would give a short-term savings to medium large industries that expand their electric use. There are about 80 industries in the city that would qualify.

The industries would have to increase electric usage by at least 10 percent, plus sign an economic development agreement with the city.

It hasn’t yet been determined if the credit would extend for three or five years. But each year of the program, the credit would reduce. For example, during the first year the company could get 30 percent credit. That could decrease to 20 percent the second year, and 10 percent in the third.

The ultimate goal – in additional to selling more electricity – is to create more jobs in Bowling Green, according to Brian O’Connell, director of public utilities for the city. Vehtek, for example, has upped its electric use to 9 megawatts, and has increased its workforce to about 750 people, O’Connell said.

The largest electric users in the city are Bowling Green State University, Vehtek and Southeastern Container.

Increased electric sales would also help the entire city, he added.

The credit would also be offered to new businesses.

“That may be why somebody might want to be here,” O’Connell said. “By bringing in a new customer, it helps the existing customers as well.”

The board will continue to discuss the issue at its July meetings.

Also at the public utilities meeting, the board agreed to advertise for bids for tree trimming and removal services. The four-year contract with Nelson tree service is coming to an end at the close of 2018.

Trimming of trees helps reduce power outages caused by fallen limbs, O’Connell said.

The contract has four one-year cycles, with each ward in the city being done at a time. Nelson is in Ward 1 this year.

The budget includes $110,000 for this service, O’Connell said.

The board also approved a renewal of the city’s contract for wastewater collection and treatment to the village of Portage, located south of Bowling Green. The agreement has been in place since 1991, but the village has started to exceed its limit of 75,000 gallons a day.

Portage has its own wastewater collection system that pumps as far at the city lines at Dunbridge and East Gypsy Lane roads.

The town also has a company that wants to expand its use of the wastewater system, so increased capacity is needed Portage Mayor Mark Wolford said.

The new contract would double the gallons per day to 150,000. The village will pay about $74,000 a year to Bowling Green. Portage officials will discuss the contract soon.

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