A steering committee that has studied for six months how best to cost effectively serve Danville’s electric customers voted Monday to recommend seven steps to improve electric utility services and address the concerns of industrial users.
The recommendations next will be considered by the Danville Utility Commission, which meets Monday, April 27. In May, the recommendations will be presented to City Council.
At its meeting today, the Electric Services Assessment Steering Committee voted unanimously to recommend the following steps:
• offer large industrial customers choice of power suppliers,
• hire a power supply consultant to help develop a plan to reduce transmission and congestion charges and assist in future power purchases,
• reduce the annual coincidental peak demand,
• install electric power generation facilities locally,
• evaluate the current policy for determining the Electric Fund contribution to the General Fund
• consider making the Utility Commission an independent governing body
• and evaluate the recommendations made by the Hometown Connections check-up report and make improvements where needed.
The consensus of the committee was to first pursue these steps, with the city retaining, for now, its electric utility.
The committee consists of three members from the Danville Utility Commission – Bill Donohue, Phillip Smith and Jim Turpin – and three members of City Council – John Gilstrap, Gary Miller and Fred Shanks. Smith is chairing the committee.
The committee has been meeting since October. It was formed after large industrial customers served by the city pointed out last summer to the Utility Commission that the city’s rate was not competitive when compared to investor-owned utilities in Virginia and the national average. While the city’s electric rate for residential customers is competitive with other power utilities, City Council members last September expressed concerns about future costs associated with purchasing power and transmitting that power to Danville. Those costs could affect current rates.
Danville distributes electricity to approximately 42,000 customer locations in a 500-square-mile service territory covering Danville, the southern third of Pittsylvania County, and small portions of Henry and Halifax counties.