Lamar Utility Board and Net Metering Policy


The Lamar Utility Board accepted the interest rate recommendation from the Public Utilities Commission for 2019. The annual housekeeping resolution set the interest rate for customer deposits at 2.05% based on a 12 month average of rates.

Board members, during the November 13th meeting, voted approval for pole mount transformers from long-time supplier Stuart Irby for $37,122.21.  The Systems Operating Report shows sales of electricity through September 2018 are up 2.6% when compared to the same period last year.  Residential sales were up approximately 4.78%, commercial/industrial sales were down 1.74% and irrigation sales were up approximately 29.12%.  These three customer classes represent an estimated 96% of the total system sales for the year.  Revenues are currently 5.28% higher than the same time last year.

Light Plant Superintendent, Houssin Hourieh, noted the latest Arkansas River Power Authority, ARPA meeting held an executive session to discuss the latest Power Purchase Agreement with representatives from Tri-State G % T. During the open portion of the meeting, Hourieh said the ARPA board instructed the general manager to send out power supply requests for proposal to different vendors.  The board will review and evaluate all power supply proposals including Tri-State’s PPA during the final regularly scheduled meeting of the year, December 6th in La Junta beginning at 10am.

The board met with about a half dozen Light Plant customers who also supplement their electricity requirements with solar panels, and with Nate Hadacheck from Impact Solar, LLC. They continued to express their concerns over the rate of reimbursement to them by the Light Plant over the amount of electricity generated onto the shared grid from their solar panels, versus the rates they are charged for their electricity.

Lamar Utility Board Attorney, Don Steerman, explained that the definition of net metering as quoted by Hadacheck from the U.S. Department of Energy website, does not specifically apply in this case. The board, Steerman explained, is reviewing its policy in light of the recent questions from solar panel owners.  Part of the matter stems from the interpretation of how many metered customers are serviced by the Light Plant.  Five-thousand appears to be the cut off point, where if the number falls below that level, net metering is not required.

Steerman said he wants to be absolutely sure that any action by the board does not go contrary to the organic contract the board currently has with ARPA or may have in the future with Tri-State Power pending current negations with both parties. “I do not want to take any action that may be a breach of contract and open us up to a potential lawsuit,” he explained. Plant Superintendent, Houssin Hourieh added that the situation is very new and evolving right now as the situation hasn’t been encountered until it was brought up from customer questions.  Steerman said at this point he had no timetable on when more information would become available, but it is an issue of concern for the board and will continue to be examined.
By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesFeaturedUtilities


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