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Good year for BE Light & Water

New electric car charging station at Welcome Center

December 9, 2018
Chuck Hunt - Register Editor , Faribault County Register

It could be a deal they just can't refuse.

At their meeting last Monday night, the Blue Earth City Council received a surprise offer from Tim Stoner, the manager at Blue Earth Light & Water (BELW).

And while they did not immediately take him up on it, the council decided to take a long, hard look at making the deal.

Article Photos

Blue Earth Light & Water manager Tim Stoner shows how one of the two new electric car charging stations, located at the new Blue Earth Chamber of Commerce Welcome Center building, works on a Chevy Volt.

Stoner was at the meeting to update the council on some of what has been going on at BELW.

"It is turning out that 2018 is going to be a good year for us," Stoner told the council. "We have made some long-term power contract agreements that will guarantee low (electrical) rates for the city of Blue Earth."

Because BELW will be saving money on the electricity they purchase to distribute to the city, Stoner had a proposal for the council.

"We could be willing to take over the cost of the power to the streetlights across the city," Stoner said. "In return, we ask that we renegotiate what the city pays us for doing all the utility billing each month."

Currently, the city of Blue Earth pays BELW for the cost of the electricity for all of the street lights across the entire city which can run as much as $6,000 per month.

In addition, the city pays BELW $350 per month to add the city's billing to that of the other utilities. BELW charges for electricity and water, while the city charges for sewer, recycling, etc.

Stoner said he felt if the city paid $1,500 per month for the billing service, it would more accurately reflect the city's share of the cost.

City administrator Tim Ibisch suggested the City Council could take some time and come up with an agreement.

"We could work on it in 2019 and make the changeIt could be a deal they just can't refuse.

At their meeting last Monday night, the Blue Earth City Council received a surprise offer from Tim Stoner, the manager at Blue Earth Light & Water (BELW).

And while they did not immediately take him up on it, the council decided to take a long, hard look at making the deal.

Stoner was at the meeting to update the council on some of what has been going on at BELW.

"It is turning out that 2018 is going to be a good year for us," Stoner told the council. "We have made some long-term power contract agreements that will guarantee low (electrical) rates for the city of Blue Earth."

Because BELW will be saving money on the electricity they purchase to distribute to the city, Stoner had a proposal for the council.

"We could be willing to take over the cost of the power to the streetlights across the city," Stoner said. "In return, we ask that we renegotiate what the city pays us for doing all the utility billing each month."

Currently, the city of Blue Earth pays BELW for the cost of the electricity for all of the street lights across the entire city which can run as much as $6,000 per month.

In addition, the city pays BELW $350 per month to add the city's billing to that of the other utilities. BELW charges for electricity and water, while the city charges for sewer, recycling, etc.

Stoner said he felt if the city paid $1,500 per month for the billing service, it would more accurately reflect the city's share of the cost.

City administrator Tim Ibisch suggested the City Council could take some time and come up with an agreement.

"We could work on it in 2019 and make the changeand implement it in 2020," he suggested.

Mayor Rick Scholtes agreed.

"We should take our time to flesh it out," he said. "We need to have Tim (Stoner), Tim (Ibisch) and David (Frundt, city attorney) get it all ready for us to study and then OK."

Scholtes also thanked Stoner for the proposal and said he "appreciates it."

"I think this could save the city about $55,000 per year," Scholtes said. "That could have a big impact on our budget."

The city had been considering adding another fee to the monthly utility bill that would help cover the cost of the streetlights.

Stoner said the cost of the electricity for the streetlights should be going down, as BELW continues to replace the old bulbs with newer style LED bulbs.

The BELW manager also gave another bit of update news to the council.

"We have installed the new electric car charging stations at the new Chamber of Commerce Welcome Center," Stoner reported. "And they are already seeing some use."

He said there are two units at the Welcome Center, one fast charging unit and another that is a slower charge.

Stoner added that drivers of electric cars pay a fee to their service company, which then pays BELW.

"These cars already have the locations of charging stations built into the GPS of their cars," Stoner said. "They can even see if the charging station down the highway is already being used or if it is available."

Stoner added that BELW already has plans to install another charging unit in the downtown Blue Earth area and another one at the Ag Center parking lot.

"There is getting to be more of a call for it, although not as much in Minnesota," Stoner said. "We will do some marketing for it next spring."

 
 

 

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