Greenville Utilities Commission’s new budget will include changes to its electric rate schedule so it aligns with how the organization purchases electricity.
GUC’s Board of Commissioners unanimously approved its final budget proposal on Thursday.
Greenville City Council, which held a public hearing on its budget and the GUC budget on Monday, is scheduled to give final approval to both documents on June 17.
Residential customers will see no changes in their electric rates, GUC General Manager/CEO Tony Cannon said.
The new schedule is for commercial, industrial and other nonresidential customers with a demand of at least 10,000 kilowatts and whose service is provided at 115,000 volts, he said. These are customers who are connected directly to GUC’s transmission system.
Cannon said there are “numerous moving parts” in GUC’s nonresidential rate structures.
GUC used to purchase its energy in what was called a declining block rate. The first amount of energy purchased had a larger per-kilowatt cost and it declined with each subsequent energy purchase.
Now GUC purchases its energy on a demand charge, which is based on peak-hour demand and on an energy charge.
The goal is to implement the rate schedule change over five years so it doesn’t affect customers, Cannon said.
“When we get our rates aligned with how we purchase power now, we’ll be in a good spot going forward,” he said.
The changes have been discussed with GUC’s large electric users, he said.
GUC’s fiscal year 2021-22 budget, which goes into effect July 1, is $265,529,278.
No electric, water, sewer or natural gas rate increases are planned, Cannon said.
However, GUC will start implementing seasonal rate adjustments for residential, commercial and industrial natural gas customers, Cannon said.
Other budget highlights are:
- Transferring nearly $6.58 million to the City of Greenville.
- Giving $500,000 to the Greenville-ENC Alliance as a sustaining member.
- Giving $150,000 to the city’s Housing Energy Conservation program.
- A 2 percent employee merit/market rate salary adjustment.
- Transferring $2.5 million from electric rate stabilization fund.
- Investing $12.7 million in capital projects.
- Transferring $5.5 million into the capital projects fund.
- Continuing employee health and dental plans.
- Transferring $500,000 to the other post employment benefits trust.
- Adding two new positions, a controller and part-time well intern.
GUC also plans to fund $7.7 million in capital improvement projects, including asset management software, relocating a water main and sewer pipeline on Elm Street and multiple sewer system projects
New building project
The GUC board unanimously approved the start of construction on a fleet maintenance building at the new operations center location at NC. 43 and Martin Luther King Jr. Highway.
The board already approved a design-building contract with T.A. Loving Company.
The project will cost $7.75 million with construction costing $6.65 million and GUC spending nearly $1.1 million on furniture, fixtures and equipment, testing, site lighting, technology, owners’ contingency and equipment specific to a maintenance facility such as tire and parts storage racks, vehicle lifts and an air compressor.
The new facility will be tall enough so bucket trucks and other vehicles with booms can be brought inside for repairs. There also will be multiple bays, a fabrication shop, fluids storage, offices, a breakroom, lockers, restrooms and an administrative offices.
Construction is scheduled to begin July and with a predicated completion date of May 2022.
GUC already has built three facilities at the new operations center. GUC moved from its existing location on Mumford Road because the facility has flooded several times since Hurricane Floyd struck in 1999.
Once the fleet maintenance facility is built, work on an administration facility with training center will be undertaken in the next five years, Cannon said.
GUC’s human resources department and risks and facilities management office remain at the Mumford Road location. Cannon said plans are underway to relocate HR personnel to another office and temporarily relocate risk and facilities management to space in the new facility.
The board unanimously approved a prepay financing agreement with Gulf States Gas District.
The 30-year agreement, which goes into effect on Nov. 1 and ends Oct. 21, 2051, will provide GUC with a minimum net discount of 29 cents per dekatherm during the initial rate period of five to seven years. The discount will then change to 19 cents per dekatherm.
GUC agrees to purpose up to but not exceeding 2,000 dekatherms per day.