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Cities lose power supplier; Waynesville wants to keep its own electric utility
WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (Jan. 13, 2010) — Members of the Waynesville Utility Committee received a report Tuesday afternoon from City Administrator Bruce Harrill warning that they’ll have to find another supplier for their city’s electric power within three years.

Harrill told committee members that Sho-Me Power, a large electric power supplier that primarily serves electric cooperatives such as Laclede Electric and Gascosage Electric, has decided to stop supplying power to municipal utilities. That’s not a problem for Crocker or Dixon which rely on Gascosage Electric, but it does create problems for Waynesville, Saint Robert, and Richland which have their own electric utility operations.

“We discussed different options; one of the options that we’re going to look at is joining a collection of cities under the Missouri Public Utility Alliance umbrella,” Harrill said. “We’re also going to look at some other options as well such as getting supplied through the bigger utilities and we’re also interested in the renewable energy portfolio of any supplier we use. We want to make sure they’ve got some renewable power in their portfolio as well.”

Harrill said the research on options will take at least several months but said there’s no serious danger of city residents no longer having electricity at the end of three years.

“It won’t take us, probably, three years to go through that process,” Harrill said. “We may decide to opt out earlier if we can find a better supplier with better rates than what we’re currently getting. We have plenty of time to look to do that.”

It’s not clear what effect changing the wholesale power supplier would have on Waynesville utility rates.

“We’d like to find, of course, a lower cost power supplier but that may or may not be possible,” Harrill said.

Giving up the city utilities and going into Laclede Electric probably isn’t possible.

“I understand that Laclede Electric is not interested in providing the power for the city of Waynesville but I don’t know that 100 percent so I need to do a little more research on that option as well,” Harrill said. “I think primarily we’re interested in keeping our own little electric utility here. That gives the city some advantages and I think our primary focus is probably going to be finding a wholesale provider and not selling our electric to another utility.”

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