October 25, 2014

EUB has functioned well

Ryan Beasley
Former EUB Member
Mayor Morrow and City Administrator take two steps back.
With the help and direction of the Electric Utility Board (EUB) over these past four years, Gardner Energy has put itself in a position where the electric rates of Gardner are extremely competitive and have fluctuated minimally.
Gardner Energy has been proactive in making sure they take care of their equipment to lower their maintenance costs. They have gone to an equipment leasing program for many of their vehicles so they can budget more effectively for the future.  Because of this, GE has reliable equipment to make sure they keep the electricity in Gardner continually flowing.
GE seldom uses contractors anymore. In the past this was a common occurrence that came at a great expense to the people of Gardener.  Now instead of using expensive contractors they have invested in equipment and hired people who complete these projects internally.  I have seen over these past 4 years the employees of Gardner Energy going above and beyond to make due with what they have.  I believe them to be very cautious and respectful with the funds they have received from the people of Gardner.   GE has a budget that is reviewed by the EUB monthly, it is firm and it is stuck to.
In addition to cutting costs and working smarter the EUB and GE have planned for the future of Gardner. GE has already built two electrical feeder lines across the freeway, on the north and south side of 175th street, with the hopes of additional business eventually coming to Gardner.  GE welcomes the thought of new business in Gardner so we wanted to make sure the electricity was accessible to any project as soon as possible.
As a former member of the Electric Utility Board, I feel one of the most important thing we did was set up two reserve funds. One reserve fund is specific for disasters. For example, if a tornado rolled through Gardner there would be huge costs to the citizens in repairing the city’s electrical system. After reviewing and estimating the cost of such a disaster the EUB and the staff of GE approved a policy setting aside around $3 million in a fund to cover such costs. In addition to this fund a second reserve fund was set up to cover large equipment failures. Again after much review we set up a policy to have around $3 million to cover disastrous equipment failure. If you’ll remember not too long ago the Gardner sky lit up when a raccoon started one of the substations on fire, it can easily happen.
These reserve funds are set up so that if there is a disaster or large equipment failure it wouldn’t be a sudden burden to the people of Gardner to cover it with a large rate increase.
All this being said, I am extremely concerned about the future of this program.  The EUB has been instrumental in assisting Gardner Energy to get things to the point they are now. On Monday there is a proposed ordinance which strips the EUB of any authority and places it back with the city council.
In my opinion the reason for such action is the city sees the emergency reserve money and wants access to it. Those reserve funds are there for citizens of Gardner’s benefit, they are there in case of an emergency.  At this point I do not have the confidence in our Mayor or this City Council to manage Gardner Energy with the detail it needs, this is exactly why the EUB was created in the first place.
Lastly, if the city administrator and Mayor Morrow feel that the current reserve amounts are excessive I demand the excess be returned to the people of Gardner!  My hope is this ordinance is tabled and more thought is put into the future of Gardner Energy.
It boggles my mind that when something is working, the government (even our local government) wants more regulatory powers. If it’s not broke don’t try to fix it.

Comments

  1. Judith Rogers says:

    Well, Beasley, I say the power struggle continues as to what entity will REGULATE Gardner Energy – it should be the citizens of Gardner, Ks. but that is never going to happen due to their apathy and ignorance. Whether the city of Gardner or someone like Beasley regulates Gardner Energy, I feel the citizens will be the losers as usual – neither one can stand to see millions of dollars out of their control…………..sad mess for sure but when politics are involved that is what you get and can expect. High utility costs and other huge problems face citizens of Gardner but it is their own fault because they continue to go along to get along and enable and support cronyism government by their poor choices in the voting booth and their apathy and ignorance and by allowing their city government to govern for the thieves instead of the citizens. If you think this latest committee on a comprehensive plan for the city is going to protect you, then I think you are a fool – many of those on that committee never protected the citizens in the past and aren’t going to be doing so now – many of the same faces and the same broken record of propaganda and rhetoric. You continue to see poor, poor leadership and much moral corruption and this is certainly not limited to your city government. Those without a moral compass very seldom, if ever, change their colors or mode of action. Just like our worthless Congress, as they have proven themselves so clearly just recently, the city of Gardner continues to do business as usual and the finger pointing is common among the jaybirds while the citizens sit there with their thumbs in their mouths and with a wallet that gets thinner by the day. There are consequences to living in Red Republican land.

  2. “In 2009, Gardner Energy and the Electric Utility Board were established, and electric rates have remained steady ever since, and by contract, will remain so well into the future. A recent rate comparison indicates that Gardner’s electric rates are nearly 9 percent less than KCP&L. Our water and wastewater utilities if run in a similar, businesslike manner will yield much better results and stabilized rates. This can be accomplished with a disciplined, commonsense approach, not through delayed maintenance and political posturing. An expanded utility board could well be the mechanism that makes this possible. Our water rates have increased an average of 5.25 percent and wastewater 8.25 percent per year over the course of the past four years, all told costing the average ratepayer over $250 per year more in 2013 than 2009.” – Chris Morrow prior to the election

  3. Judith Rogers says:

    Until you get some DECENT, EDUCATED people with good moral convictions on your city council, utility board, county commissioners, governor and/or legislators rather than the slimy politicians/bureaucrats you have around now and in the past who only work for the robber barons, nothing will change and your costs will increase and more and more middle class families will be going into the poverty level. Make no mistake about it. Power struggles by the lowlifes do nothing but hurt average citizens and the government shutdown we have recently had makes that very clear and the ones we have at the local level are much the same. The winners are the robber barons, politicians and the bureaucrats who demand higher and higher salaries and benefits for gouging you and they are eating every citizen’s lunch and more. Presently you are $10 BILLION IN THE RED for the KPERS program, to say nothing about the huge debt the citizens face with practically every government entity and most of that is for the benefit of the thieves. Citizens might want to think long and hard as to what they are enabling and supporting.

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