Session on electric rates planned

Published 11:18 am Saturday, October 17, 2009

FRANKLIN—Citizens have long questioned the cost of electricity in the city. They may soon get some answers.

GDS Associates Inc., a Marietta, Ga.-based consulting and engineering firm, started a study of the city’s electric rates in July. Company officials will report their findings during a City Council work session on Oct. 26. The work session is open to the public and will be held before the regular City Council meeting.

City Manager June Fleming said that she hasn’t heard any complaints about the cost of electricity in the city recently but noted that it has been a concern over the years.

“The cost of electricity is high,” she said. “We pass on the rates that we get from Dominion.”

During the work session, consultants will make recommendations to the City Council and discuss the possible impacts of implementing those recommendations.

Michael Stoneham, director of Franklin Power & Light, said that the city recently entered into a new agreement with the Virginia Municipal Electric Association. VMEA is made up of municipalities that, like Franklin, own their own electric utilities. VMEA buys electricity from Dominion at a lower rate than communities could get by themselves.

The new 20-year agreement goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2011. Stoneham said he didn’t have specifics of the plan but noted that rates will not be locked in.