PEI

Summerside council to vote on electric utility review Monday

Summerside council will vote Monday on a proposed review of the city's electric utility in an effort to increase reliability of the system, while balancing cost pressures and environmental impacts.

Proposed review would cost city $75,000

Summerside council will vote Monday on a review of options for Summerside Electric to meet its generation requirements going forward. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

Summerside council will vote Monday on a proposed review of the city's electric utility in an effort to increase reliability of the system, keeping in mind cost pressures and environmental impacts.

Greg Gaudet, director of municipal services for Summerside, says the review will look at all possible options for generating power.

"That could be wind, solar, biomass, storage-technology, combined heat cycle plants, also conventional generation," he said.

"Also, looking [ahead] to what the cost impact would be for our investments, to satisfy our operation requirement needs for the utility."

Greg Gaudet, director of municipal services, says the City of Summerside is concentrating on reducing its carbon footprint as much as possible. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

The review was sparked, in part, by concerns from the community about whether buying a $23-million generator is the best option for Summerside Electric to meet "its electric utility needs for reliability and security," Gaudet said.

He said a review would look at different options to meet the utility's needs while taking into account environmental impact, cost pressures and available technology that other jurisdictions might be using "to satisfy their operational needs."

Gaudet said if council votes to approve the review, at a cost of $75,000, he expects they would have the report by the end of the year.

Calls for review

The idea of a review was raised at the April meeting of council, when a discussion ensued after a resolution was put forward to award a contract to Kore Energy for the purchase of a generator for Summerside Electric.

Council had determined the city needed to extend the power-generating capacity of the utility by 16 megawatts within two to three years, to be available for emergencies.

They had decided it was in the city's best interest to own its means of generation, rather than buy electricity from NB Power. 

Coun. Gordie Whitlock put forward a motion to postpone the purchase of a generator until a third-party review looked at viable alternatives.

That motion was seconded by Coun. Tyler Desroches and the motion carried.

A request for proposals was sent out in April and Dunsky Energy Consulting is being recommended to do the work, should the proposal pass.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Jessica Doria-Brown

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