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Electric rates to be lower in Falls

Residents to see 6 to 9 percent savings

NEWTON FALLS — Village council has unanimously approved new municipal electric rates with residential customers expected to see savings of between 6 and 9 percent.

Village manager David Lynch said at Monday’s meeting while the proposed overall reduction for customers will be between 5.8 percent and 6 percent, some residential customers could see savings of close to 9 percent based on monthly usage.

Lynch said the new rates will be retroactive to Dec. 1 usage.

“The average resident is going to see a decrease in electric consumption on a regular basis of between 6 and 9 percent monthly. This will be a significant decrease for our customers,” he said.

Aaron Teders, a consultant with Sawvel and Associates of Findlay, spoke to council on the electric rate study the company completed for the village at a cost of $15,000.

He said a customer using 600 kilowatts of electricity per month will see the monthly bill decrease from $95 to $86, marking an 8.7 to 9.2 percent reduction. He said commercial bills will also see a decrease noting a business using 4,839 kilowatts per month will decrease from $685 to $668 per month.

Lynch said having lower electric rates will also help to attract new business to the community as “a selling tool.”

Lynch said he has been in talks with American Municipal Power on the electric contract with the village possibly being reduced. He said efforts have been made to reduce the village’s number of contracts with AMP.

Lynch said AMP provides contracts with municipalities such as Newton Falls, which then sell power to residents and businesses.

“We need to look carefully at the evaluation of the contracts,” Lynch said.

Teders said the Church Street substation was looked at and no major overhaul will need to be done there until 2024.

Lynch said William George, superintendent of the village’s electric department, and staff have worked on repairs and maintenance that keep the substation operational. George said completed capital improvements have helped extend the life of the equipment, but an estimated $3.5 million of work has been postponed.

Teders said he has looked at the equipment at the substation and noted the transformer at the Church Street site was put in eight years ago — and can have a life expectancy of up to 40 years.

“It is important to evaluate the equipment every five years,” he said.

Second Ward Councilman John Baryak, serving as acting mayor, said he is pleased with the expected reductions and would like to see further reduction in the future.

Councilman-at-Large Tarry Alberini said if the village gets more economic growth, it will mean additional revenue to the community and less costs placed on residential customers.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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