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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • BPW enjoying recent heat wave

  • While this year’s cooler-than-normal July brought smiles to the faces of most residents, it generated a frown at the Hannibal Board of Public Works, where electricity sales were almost $500,000 below what had been budgeted during the first month of the 2013-14 fiscal year.
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  • While this year’s cooler-than-normal July brought smiles to the faces of most residents, it generated a frown at the Hannibal Board of Public Works, where electricity sales were almost $500,000 below what had been budgeted during the first month of the 2013-14 fiscal year.
    “It was just a radically cool month,” said Bob Stevenson, general manager of the BPW, during the August BPW Board meeting.
    In July, electric sales to residential, commercial and industrial customers were down drastically compared to 2012. Residential electric usage was 5.7 million kilowatt hours (KWH) in July, compared to 11.5 million KWH in 2012. Commercial usage was down from 3.4 million KWH in 2012 to 2.2 million in July. In the industrial category, usage in 2012 was 14.1 million KWH, compared to 11.8 million KWH in July.
    All totaled, the drop in electric sales in the three categories meant the BPW fell below what had been budgeted by $485,013.
    Making the loss even more eye opening is the fact it occurred despite a hike of 3 percent in electric rates that took effect on July 1.
    Failing to make budget in July prompted a series of meetings at the BPW to discuss “how to react” to the revenue shortfall. Up for discussion were what Electric Department projects could be put on hold.
    During the August BPW Board meeting, officials expressed hope for a “warm spring” in 2014. However, that was before the recent heat wave which saw temperatures push to more normal summer-like levels of the mid 90s.
    The current heat wave is expected to last through much of this week. Monday’s high was 98 degrees in Hannibal, which just fell short of the record high of 100, set in 1925, according to the Water Filter Plant. The National Weather Service is calling for Tuesday’s high to reach 96 degrees. Hannibal’s record high for Sept. 10 is 98 degrees, which dates back to 1933.
    As if the downturn in electric sales weren’t enough, the BPW continues to lose money through its share of the Prairie State electric plant. During July the BPW went into the hole by almost $273,000.
    In a memo to the BPW Board, Stevenson reported the plant’s performance in July was “poor.” Plant capacity in July was only 42 percent, down from 58 percent in June.
    Stevenson said that a new plant manager has been hired at Prairie State and that consultants have been brought in to help find ways to boost the facility’s performance.
     

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