Board slated to discuss return-on-investment checks for WEU customers

Published 12:21 pm Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Among items the Washington Electric Utilities Advisory Board is scheduled to discuss during its meeting Wednesday are load-management improvements and return-on-investment checks for Washington Electric Utilities customers.

City Manager Bobby Roberson, at the City Council’s June 11 meeting, asked the council to allow those items to be discussed by the board so it could make recommendations regarding their possible implementation to the council.

“In order for us to encourage people to actually get on the load management, consideration, I think, ought to be given to new construction inside of our jurisdiction, to actually ask them to be part of the load management system,” Roberson told the council. “In addition to that, I think there should be an additional encouragement. I know what the standard price is, but I think we need to encourage that. I was once told that if we have all the customers on our system as a part of load management, we could save about $1.3 million on an annual basis. I’d like to refer that to the electric advisory committee and come back with recommendations concerning incentives for load management.”

Under the WEU load-management program, devices are installed on some electric appliances such as electric water heaters, heat pumps/central air conditioners and auxiliary heat sources such as heat strips. Those devices, which are radio-controlled, allow the city to turn off those appliances during times when peak demands are expected. That saves the city and its power customers money. WEU customers in the load-management program receive credits each month on their electric bills.
The appliances are controlled for no more than four hours a day for a few days each month.

Thirteen WEU customers such as manufacturers and other large commercial consumers of power operate generators at times of peak power demands to help reduce the need to buy power from wholesale power providers such as the N.C. Eastern Municipal Power Agency, from which the city buys its power at the wholesale level.

Roberson explained the return on investment idea to the council.

“I think what we’re looking at is, maybe in December, to pass along a small check to each one of our electric customers that we have. We have over 14,000. Around Christmas, not put a credit on the bill, but actually send them a check that says, ‘Thank you for being one of our customers and here’s a check.’ We’d bring back a recommendation from the electric advisory committee about those individuals on our system,” Roberson said.

The Washington Electric Utilities Advisory Board meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 102 E. Second St.

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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