Berea Utility Advisory Board
Meeting Minutes
June 5, 2012

 Present: Diane Zekind, Gina Chamberlain, Josh Bills, Ed Fortner

Absent: Rodney Short, Randy Stone

The meeting was called to order by Josh Bills

Steve Boyce Resignation

  • Steve Boyce tendered his resignation on May 29th as a member of B.U.A.B. but is still interested in remaining involved with the solar farm.  Ed Fortner thanked Steve for all of his time and efforts he has given to this group.  Mayor Connelly has been asked to appoint another member to the Board and any recommendations for candidates should be forwarded to him. Josh Bills agreed to be the interim chairperson until a new member has been appointed and the entire group will decide on a new chair.

Quick Updates and Reports:

  • Solar Farm – All 120 panels have been leased.  The 2nd array of panels was energized and the credit should appear on the next billing cycle.  Ed will be meeting with Photon Magazine this Wednesday and with a Berea College class this Thursday to provide a tour and presentation regarding the solar farm.  In addition, the Berea Kilowatt tour with KFTC will stop to see the solar farm on July 7th at 10:30am.
  • Josh has performed a walkthrough at the Waste Water (Sewer) Plant to look at the solar opportunities at that location. He’ll submit his findings to Ed, Randy, and BUAB members soon.  There is $150k earmarked in the 2012-13 budget for this project.  A decision has yet to be made if these panels would be leased to the City of Berea (or BMU) (possibly through a third party) to take advantage of Federal Tax Credits available. A decision also has yet to be made if BMU would lease to customers the financial benefits (an expansion of the existing Berea Solar Farm program) or if the City would be sole investor and beneficiary of savings of such a net metered solar electric installation and use the power generated to offset operational costs.
  •  Johnson Controls 50,000 foot assessment – Josh received a telephone call from Tom Hogan regarding the comprehensive review and he told Josh that it would be taking place on June 6th.  Need to confirm this date with Randy Stone and also who will be accompanying them at the various locations.
  • Net Metering Ordinance – This topic needs to be placed on the agenda so it can be discussed.  Some questions that need to addressed include how much detail to include, should it mirror the State’s, the 1% threshold, two levels of service (<10kW Residential/>10kW commercial & industrial), maximum kW (40kw?) and the credit being made at wholesale pricing.
  • Other – Gina Chamberlain mentioned that the Kentucky Home Performance program will be entering a new phase on July 1st and will provide low interest loans versus rebates for conservation efforts.  She hopes to have further information for either the July or August meeting and also some data on how this program has impacted Berea.

Electric Rate Increases for 2012-13 and beyond:

  •  Ed attended APPA’s four day training on rate setting and stated it was an excellent class.  BMU will be performing another cost-of-service study and will use the last audited year (2010-11) in the analysis.  The steps used to determine the rate change are to a) look for the revenue required b) identify and categorize the expenses c) define what the deficit will be and d) allocate the rate increase across the various classes.  For the residential classification, the customer (service) charge should capture the fixed costs including the delivery, distribution and maintenance of power to the customer (meters, meter sets, transformers…) and the energy charge covers the actual power received from KU; other classifications also include a demand charge.  KU has stated that there will be an 8.5% increase.  There have been discussions about adding a Power Cost Adjustment (PCA) to the bill that could be changed monthly or quarterly to capture fluctuations such as fuel surcharges or climate and help to stabilize the revenue needed to support KU delivering power and also eliminate the need to do a cost-of-service survey annually.  The PCA could be positive or negative (credit).
  • Next Monday (6/11), Paul Garcia will be making a presentation on the cost-of-service study and the rate change recommendations and will also be hosting a City Council work session on Tuesday (6/12).  The second reading of the budget is scheduled at the City Council meeting on June 19th.  B.U.A.B. has asked if they could attend the working session on Tuesday and Ed will confirm if this would be possible.
  •  Ed also provided an update on the BMU water and sewer services.  On the water side, new media has been installed in the filters at the water treatment plant along with some back wash procedures which have greatly improved the treatment process.  He also stated BMU is looking at an expansion of the lagoon and expressed thanks to Berea College for allowing BMU to land apply the sludge rather than hauling it off.  At the sewer plant, there are currently some issues with the screw pumps and they are being rehabbed.  They are also draining down one of the two oxidation ditches to save energy; both ditches are normally not required except for big rain events.  The jet-vac truck has been repaired and the crews now have the sewer camera to use in troubleshooting.    The City also received a grant to expand Terrill Branch and upgrade the Walnut Meadow pump station.  The Water Department along with the Fire Department will begin to flush the hydrants starting today; work will start out by Indian Fort and move across the City.

It was decided that in lieu of an EE subcommittee meeting in June, that members of B.U.A.B. would attend the City Council work session on Tuesday (if permitted) to see firsthand how the rate changes will be handled.

Josh will send out a note to schedule the next meeting of B.U.A.B.

Respectfully submitted,

Diane Zekind