York County is expected to save more than $400,000 on its electric bill over the next three years, thanks to lower utility rates, more competition for electricity suppliers, and a new provider contract.
The county uses about 27.7 million kilowatt hours of electricity at all of its facilities, 84 different accounts, said facilities director Scott Cassel. That translates to about $2.1 million under the current contract.
He said county taxpayers will save about $138,000 per year, or 6.4 percent on the current rate, under the new contract with Pittsburgh-based Direct Energy Business.
The three-year contract, which Direct Energy was awarded through an online action and commissioners approved at a meeting Wednesday, runs from 2013 to 2015. It will replace a two-year First Energy contract that expires at the end of this year.
The current rate is $0.07804 per kilowatt hour, with the new rate being lowered to $0.07306 per kilowatt hour, he said.
Cassel said he plans to try to negotiate lower rates with other utilities as well, placing emphasis on natural gas.
The county hasn't been able to take advantage of plummeting natural gas rates because it's locked into a contract it entered before prices has fallen, and it doesn't expire until the end of 2013, Cassel said.
"It's my intention to talk to our natural gas suppliers now to determine if we should look at securing any amount beyond what we currently have under contract," he said.
As utility rates typically increase over time, the county usually saves money by entering contracts, he said. There's also a budgeting benefit to knowing in advance how much the county will be paying for utilities, he said.
In other news: Also at Wednesday's meeting, commissioners approved spending $16,951 to buy 31,392 flags to be placed on the graves of veterans for Memorial Day.
- Reach Christina Kauffman at 505-5436, email@example.com, or follow her on Twitter at @YDYorkCounty.