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Federal cuts could impact FELPS
WILLIAM J. GIBBS JR./Reprints at wilsoncountynews.com
Alton Tieken (left), who is retiring from the Floresville Electric Light & Power System (FELPS), receives a framed copy of a resolution honoring his service March 28 from FELPS General Manager David McMillan. Tieken, who most recently served as manager for field services, worked two stints with FELPS, which totaled 42 years.
Wilson County NewsApril 4, 2012 2,655 views 1 comment
FLORESVILLE -- David McMillan, general manager of the Floresville Electric Light & Power System (FELPS), fears that federal funding cuts to energy assistance programs could have a negative impact on FELPS’ bottom line.
FELPS board members voted unanimously at their March 28 meeting to approve $10,275 in bad debt charge offs for the month of February. McMillan attributes this to the 75-percent cut in federal funds to the programs, which helps defray the cost of electricity for low-income residents. The general manager said prior to the cuts, approximately $100,000 per year was paid to FELPS by the programs.
“[Low-income customers] don’t make enough to pay the power bill they run up,” he said. “So you’re eventually going to have to write it off in some manner.”
McMillan said that family members sometimes establish new accounts for those who have lost service due to nonpayment. The family member might even pay the bill for a time, but then the payments stop and service is cut once again. This leaves FELPS to hire outside collection agencies in an effort to recoup the amounts owed.
In an effort to mitigate the expense associated with unpaid electricity, McMillan said FELPS plans to be increasingly vocal about ways its customers can conserve energy and keep costs down.
Also related to energy costs, board members Larry Stavinoha, Ronnie Bohmann, Pat Pollock, Vernon Lambeck, Marlin Tanneberger, Ignacio Vasquez, and Floresville Mayor Daniel Tejada are set to meet later this month for a work session to discuss FELPS’ wholesale purchase-power contract. Since the company’s inception in 1942, McMillan said FELPS has purchased wholesale electricity from San Antonio-based CPS Energy.
The current contract with CPS expires in 2015, McMillan said, which is why FELPS requested proposals from other suppliers. Fourteen companies -- including CPS -- responded. The board will review the proposals and make recommendations on how to proceed.
The cost related to purchased power fluctuates on a monthly basis. For bills mailed March 26 and due April 10, customers will see a charge of $6.51 per 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity used. McMillan said milder-than-normal January temperatures made the electricity less expensive, but the savings were curtailed because of generation units being taken offline for maintenance. He cautions customers that purchased-power costs could rise in the coming months because weather forecasts indicate that South Central Texas is in for another hot, dry summer.
In other business:
•The board presented a resolution to Alton Tieken, FELPS’ manager for field services, who is retiring after spending a total of 42 years working for the utility.
•McMillan informed the board that newly hired Assistant General Manager Kyle Dicke is set to begin work April 2. Dicke, who is the former assistant director of public services for San Marcos’ electric utility, will have an annual salary of $102,000 as he is groomed as McMillan’s potential successor.
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The Marcelina Muse
Dry Tank, TX
April 4, 2012 12:51pm
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