Hudson -- Last year, two companies bid on developing a 10-year electric system improvement plan for Hudson Public Power.
GPD Group would charge $32,800 including expenses while Peters, Tschantz & Assoc. Inc. bid $80,000.
Council unanimously approved the GPD Group contract Jan. 15.
The work involves investigating electric system deficiencies and identifying solutions; exploring possible load growth; reviewing the history of the system's demand and energy use to develop load projections; examining capacity and configuration to improve reliability of future loads; developing cost estimates; preparing a preliminary report for review; and including comments in a final report.
Director of Public Works Frank Comeratio said every municipality's electrical power system is unique, and the 10-year plan is a road map for Hudson's components.
"The plan focuses on the mechanics of the system," Comeratio said.
The report will look at the latest technology and identify what Hudson's power system is lacking and make recommendations, he said.
The city wants to improve customer and commercial reliability, Comeratio said.
City Council President Hal DeSaussure said the electric fund carries a $10 million "cushion" balance, but with interest rates so low, he wanted to know if GPD Group could suggest what balance amount would be the most beneficial.
"Why maintain such a high balance?" DeSaussure said. "What type of balance would be efficient?"
The 10-year outlook looks at smart technologies and capital costs in the system, said interim City Manager Scott Schroyer.
"This provides a longer view we can put in the 5-year plan," Schroyer said.
The report would determine whether the power program is meeting the strategic plan goals, Schroyer added.
"It's important to know how to expand the service," said Council member Dan Williams.
Council member Dennis Hanink wanted to review the power plan every year not just every 10 years.
"[We need to] extract the metrics to help us understand the system is improving," Hanink said.
Hanink also suggested separately listing the cost of power and the distribution of power on customers' bills.
Comeratio said a possible change in the future could be credit for customers who use solar power. American Municipal Power may participate in a load response program in the future, and those customers who produce some power capacity, could receive credit for it.
Comeratrio said he knows of only two customers who use solar energy in Hudson.