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Power adjustments could continue; county feels heat for higher bills

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

Fluctuating power adjustments may continue for residents of Williamstown as the city entered into a five-year contract with AMP-Ohio for bulk electric.

The city council approved this contract in the fall and is with the company they currently contract with for electric.

Williamstown Mayor Glenn Caldwell said the city requested proposals from providers and only received two.

“For the next couple of years, I forsee that the city will retain the same rates, but in the third, fourth and fifth year of the contract there’s every possibility that rates will increase,” Caldwell said.

When signing the contract with AMP that begins Jan. 1, 2010, the city only contracted for 96 percent of the electric they historically used. The reason the city chose to contract for only 96 percent of the usage from their current contract, said Caldwell, was to hopefully save residents some money.

This gamble will pay off if the residents use the amount the city predicted they will.

“If the economy improves and the usage goes up (from what it currently is), we’ll probably be OK, but if not, the city could be buying the 4 percent on the open market and having to pay even more if the market demands it,” Caldwell said.

Williamstown residents aren’t the only ones paying a power adjustment. All taxpayers in Grant County are paying the increased utility bills at the courthouse, detention center and any public buildings in Williamstown.

“It’s been a significant increase to county government,” said Judge-Executive Darrell Link.

Link said the fiscal court is keeping a watchful eye on electric rates as the new justice center nears completion.

He estimates that on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays when court is in session will be the peak times for electric consumption.

“Even though the rest of the week the only offices in use will be the district clerk’s office, I’ll still be paying on peak usage,” he said.

Caldwell said he understood that people are frustrated, angry and even scared over the issue.

“I know people get upset and I understand because I pay those bills and rates too, but it’s just the economic times we’re in,” Caldwell said.