Study looks at city’s power service costs

Published 8:21 pm Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Washington’s City Council, during its meeting Monday, will consider waiving the requirement that the city’s electric director reside within the city limits.

Waiving the requirement, which applies to the city manger, administrative services director, community and cultural resources director, electric director, police and fire services director and public-works director, would clear the way for Jeff Clark to be named the new electric director. Currently, Clark serves an interim electric director. He assumed that position after Keith Hardt resigned as electric director in late 2015.

The residency requirement was enacted “for the rational purpose of enhancement of the quality of employee performance by greater personal knowledge of his or her scope of responsibility and existing city conditions,” according to the City Code. “Any exception made to this article shall be consistent with the purpose of these requirements as stated in section 24-21 above and approved by city council,” reads the City Code.

Also Monday, a spokesman with Booth & Associates will review a cost-of-service study with the council. The study, an updated version of a study presented to the city last fall, likely will be used by the council as it considers Washington Electric Utilities rate changes in the next several years.

In May, the council rejected paying for a new cost-of-service study, which would have cost the city $24,500. A cost-of-services study, among other things, is used to fairly assign charges to cover the costs of providing services to each customer class.

The existing study, presented to the city Oct. 19, 2015, recommended that Washington’s electric customers should have their overall electric rates (per kilowatt hour) reduced by 5.64 percent, with residential customers receiving a 2.52 percent reduction. The study also recommended increasing some fees, including facilities charges, related to providing electric service. Booth & Associates conducted the study.

At that October meeting, Booth & Associates spokesman Terry Brege said the goal of the study and its recommendations was to fairly distribute the costs of providing power to the different rate classes so they pay their fair share based on their power consumption and associated costs of providing service to them.

Brege said a reason the city might want to consider increasing the facilities charge — at least in the customer column and over time move it closer to the distribution column — is it produces rate stability, revenue stability.

The council meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Council Chambers in the Municipal Building, 102 E. Second St. To view the council’s agenda for a specific meeting, visit the city’s web­site at, click “Government” then “City Council” heading, then click “Meeting Agendas” on the menu to the right. Then click on the date for the appropriate agenda.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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