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Published: Wednesday, 10/11/2006

Sylvania mulls municipal utility


Sylvania City Council is considering the possibility of creating a municipal utility.

If the city sets up a municipal utility, Sylvania and its residents could save money on energy costs, such as by using power generated by alternative energy sources, said Councilman Keith Haddad, chairman of council's utilities and environment committee.

During a recent standing-room-only public meeting, organized by Mr. Haddad, city officials discussed a variety of alternative energy plans, but no decisions have been made about what plans to pursue.

At this point, city officials are pondering possible scenarios for a municipal utility, such as whether Sylvania would purchase energy supplies from other sources or if the city would build its own utility infrastructure, said Mr. Haddad.

The utilities and environment committee has recommended to the full council that the city establish a Sylvania municipal utility.

Council agreed to ask James Moan, the city's law director, to draw up legislation for the creation of a municipal utility.

Mr. Haddad said a consultant would come to a council meeting soon to talk to city officials about possible costs involved in a municipal utility, including a range of costs for infrastructure.

Councilman Doug Haynam said he has talked to some people who are actively marketing alternative energy forms, such as windmills and solar panels, and that "during those discussions they all seem to point to the advantage of dealing with the distribution of energy through a municipal owned and operated utility."

If council agrees on paper to create a municipal utility, that doesn't mean that Sylvania would be producing and selling energy anytime soon, Mr. Haynam said.

"I do not think that the Power Company of Sylvania is in the grand plans today. It is not as infeasible as you might think, but it is not my interest now.

"My interest is to put us in the position going forward to take advantage of the opportunities available to us," such as through the generation of power by alternative energy sources, Mr. Haynam said.

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