Committee seeks better electric rates

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STONE HARBOR – Some residents could save as much as two month’s worth of electricity by being involved in a plan to combine accounts in this town and others.

Middle Township Committee last month introduced an ordinance that allows it to go out for bid to get electricity rates. The municipality is following Stone Harbor’s lead. Wildwood is also part of the plan.

Stone Harbor Borough Councilman Barry Mastrangelo said he believes municipalities coming together for electricity rates will help everyone financially.

More towns that are involved in the effort mean that the electricity costs will be lower for residents, Middle Township Committeeman Tim Donohue said.

Mastrangelo is hoping the move will save money for the borough and taxpayers.

But if the prices come in too high after going out for electrical rates, there are no negative consequences, he said.

“We don’t go forward,” Mastrangelo said.

It won’t cost municipalities to have companies bid on providing electricity, according to officials. The idea is that by combining utility customers, it will be possible to find a better rate.

Even if a contract is approved, residents don’t have to be part of the effort to combine electricity rates, and they can continue using their current provider, Donohue said. He said information sessions will be held about pulling together electricity accounts.

The hope is that everyone would see a savings, Donohue said, which would filter back into the economy.

Donohue believes the idea is a good one.

“We’re saving tens of thousands of dollars on the township level,” Donohue said.

About a month and a half to two months’ worth of electricity costs could be saved, according to John Fish, who is an agent with Commercial Utility Consultants of Sewell.

Some customers could see $800-$900 a year in savings, he said.

Savings could begin as early as May, Fish said.

In December, Fish told Middle Township Committee that customers would continue to deal with Atlantic City Electric but the rates would be less.

Commercial Utility Consultants would be paid through a fee tacked onto the new electricity rate, Fish said.

Stone Harbor is leading the cooperative effort.

Middle Township went out for new municipal electrical rates in 2012. The township will see a savings of $2,034 in natural gas; $9,746 for 34 electric accounts; and $2,918 for street lighting accounts.

An energy expo is planned for businesses about energy savings, Donohue said.

There’s also a plan to combine electricity rates for commercial properties, but that will be done separately, Fish said.

Middle Township Committee will vote on the ordinance to go out for bids for electrical rates Monday, March 18. That meeting starts at 6 p.m. at Township Hall, 33 Mechanic St. in Cape May Court House and is open to the public.

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