July 15, 2013
LIMA — The city is working on two fronts to reduce the money it pays for energy.
Public Works Director Howard Elstro updated City Council on Monday about efforts to improve the energy efficiency of its system and also pay less for the energy it does consume.
“We’ve made great strides to improve our energy efficiency,” Elstro said.
The city has made improvements of LED lighting in street lights, traffic signals, park shelter houses, the Collett Street garage, Municipal Center, Hall of Justice and downtown parking garage.
The city also recently made capital improvements to the heating and cooling systems at the Municipal Center. The city has seen a 26 percent reduction in usage at the Municipal Center, and a 20 percent reduction in usage at the parking garage.
The city will also engage in what is called a reverse auction for its own electric bills. The city has 240 separate electric accounts; it will go to bid on 235 of those, allowing electricity providers to submit low bids. The city is not obligated to accept a bid, and can choose from multiple terms, from six months to three years.
The city expects to save at least $200,000 a year with the reverse auction, and an adviser makes sure the city is receiving the price per kilowatt quoted.
Some charges the city cannot reduce; they are set by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. For example, the city owns about a third of the street lights in the city and leases two-thirds from AEP Ohio. The rate for those lights are set.
Elstro gave the council a presentation on how some of the new technology works. He showed one of the new street lights that uses LED technology and other equipment to dissipate heat and focus lighting in driving lanes. The light uses 65 percent less energy than a conventional light bulb that’s been used for more than 25 years.