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Power plant sale still on track

Two important meetings coming up

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Posted: Friday, March 30, 2012 1:15 am

Crawfordsville Utility Board members got to talk face-to-face Thursday with Bill Harrington, owner of Crawfordsville Energy LLC, regarding the sale of the power plant.

Last month Harrington talked with board member via teleconference, but Thursday he was at the meeting in person and said things were moving “at lightening speed.”

He informed the board that the meeting with the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor is scheduled for Wednesday. He is confident there shouldn’t be any concerns at that meeting and announced he had been working hard to get everything lined up right for that meeting.

“Both my attorneys and your attorneys know that the OUCC can’t stop this project, but they can slow it down,” he said. “So I am trying to make sure all my ducks are lined up.”

Following that meeting, there is a May 1 meeting with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. At that meeting the IURC will be asked to give up jurisdiction to the Crawfordsville Power Plant so it can be transferred to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

“Filing with the FERC is the final step, but it can’t be done until the UIRC signs off and gives up jurisdiction,” Harrington said. “I can’t give you an exact timetable when they will rule. When you are dealing with regulatory commissions it’s just hard to say how fast they will move.”

Harrington said the financing packages are moving ahead well and he saw no major snags looming. He estimated a closing date of sometime in June. He also told the board they should have a $50,000 earnest check for the project by the time they meet in April. That was requested by Denny Cook at the last meeting.

Harrington was going to meet with the 13 employees of the power plant who will become Crawfordsville Energy LLC employees after the sale. This was to keep them updated at the request of board members Sam Hildebrand.

In other business, the board discussed, and passed, a $4 a month increase in the fees for Accelplus video. This would raise the monthly price to $53.95, which is still $6 to $10 less than its competitors.

John Douglas said the hike was needed to cover the increased cost to Accelplus.

“This is not just to try to increase our bottom line,” he said. “This will cover the increase to us.”

Douglas said competitors also have had recent increases. The increase will take effect May 1.

It also was announced that the Accelplus Internet will be operating at a higher speed. The company has changed server providers which allows more bandwidth and after some testing the company will offer faster speeds at no additional cost.

The board also was given the monthly financial reports. It was pointed out that the electric utility has been in the black for the past two months. In 2010, the electric utility lost $1.8 million and that was cut to a loss of $600,000 in 2011.

“Our cuts are definitely paying off,” CEL&P Manager Phil Goode said. “It’s been a long process, but to cut $1.2 million off in a year shows we are on the right path and now to see us in the black for the first two months of this year is really good news. We just have to keep that trend going.”

It also was noted that for the past two months a check for $10,000 had been sent to U.S. Bank as a partial payment for the bonds for Accelplus. Goode said board attorney Dan Taylor would give an update on the Accelplus situation at the April meeting.

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