Pharos-Tribune

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April 2, 2014

KITCHELL: Latest LMU move one step forward, two back

(Continued)

What’s wrong with this picture is that if Logansport officials would switch to the Indiana Municipal Power Agency (IMPA) now, rates for Logansport industrial and commercial customers would likely be lowered substantially. Electric rate cuts could spur more hirings throughout the community and that also could lead to more consumption by people in the workforce who will buy homes and durable goods in the community. With no replacement for Sears on the horizon, questions remain about Logansport’s status as a regional trade center for not only Cass County, but most surrounding counties.

Meanwhile, if city officials approved joining IMPA and restructuring the existing Duke Energy contract through IMPA, Logansport could still move ahead with plans to build a natural gas or alternative fuel plant in the coming years strictly for use as a plant to sell power on the nation’s grid and make capital not only for LMU’s infrastructure needs, but the civil city budget and economic development.

A second concern is that based on comments previously reported in the Pharos-Tribune, it would appear that the only method of financing the project being considered involves private investors who would pocket millions before turning over the plant as part of another proposed build/operate/transfer agreement. This aspect of the “rate stabilization initiative” the city has pursued has probably flown under the radar of public scrutiny. Independent analysis of the best funding option for whatever plant is built should be considered, and priority should be given to what is cheapest for ratepayers, not what’s most advantageous to private investors. After all, private investors usually invest in investor-owned utilities, not municipal utilities that are owned by the public and, by definition, aren’t out to make a buck for anyone, but to save a buck for the average homeowner or business owner.

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