Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

December 2, 2012

HAWES: Utility promises openness

Logansport’s utility superintendent has promised to keep residents in the loop concerning the proposed transformation of the city power plant.

“We’re going to do everything we can to keep the public informed,” said Paul Hartman, superintendent of Logansport Municipal Utilities. “There are no secrets here. People have a right to know what’s going on.”

Hartman noted that he had already scheduled an appearance before the Logansport Rotary Club, and he voiced willingness to speak before other civic organizations.

“They just need to ask,” he said.

The next step in the process will be a cost of service study to be presented to the Logansport Utility Service Board at its December meeting. After that will come proposals from companies willing to invest in the project. Those are due by Jan. 11, and the consultants hope to have a recommendation to the Utility Service Board by Feb. 4.

Hartman said his team would likely narrow the list to few finalists during closed-door meetings. After that, he said, the process will be public.

“We’ll probably have a public meeting where we talk about the finalists,” he said.

The utility’s goal is to find a company willing to invest at least $500 million in converting the city’s power plant to burn pellets made from trash. Some would come from the city’s own trash and some would come from other sources.

This transformation won’t happen quickly. Once the city selects a partner, the project will face a process of 18 to 24 months to gain the needed permits. After that, Hartman said, the construction process will take up to 2 1/2 years.

So it could take as long as 4 1/2 years from the day the board makes its decision to the day the plant goes into operation.

And time is of the essence.

Hartman says the utility is looking at a deadline of no later than 2017 to stop burning coal. That means that even if the process starts next year, LMU might be looking at a period when it will have to buy all of its power from Duke Energy.

The utility’s contract with Duke, by the way, ends in 2018, and he good news is that if this project goes through, LMU will be in a position in several years where it will not only be generating all of the energy it needs, it will actually have about 150 megawatts of electricity available to sell to a supplier such as Duke Energy.

“That’s one of the things that make this work,” Hartman said.

Consultants say this plan will result in a drop in the amount of money the utility is spending to generate electricity. Hartman says that will translate into a savings for customers in the neighborhood of 20 to 25 percent.

Some have questioned why any company would invest at least $500 million in such a venture. Where is the return on investment?

Hartman is confident that there are a number of companies willing to do that, and he says their motivations vary.

“Some are doing it for tax write-offs,” he said. “Some are looking to meet a requirement that they invest in green technology.”

Advocates of the project say it would provide huge dividends for Logansport. Mayor Ted Franklin has suggested it would create as many as 160 jobs.

Hartman sees a demanding schedule ahead as he works to meet the timetable set out for the project.

“I don’t expect to have a lot of time to relax,” he said. “That’s OK, though. I’m looking forward to it.”

Kelly Hawes is managing editor of the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5155 or kelly.hawes@pharostribune.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • THEIR VIEW: Indiana's ethics laws in need of reform The Indiana State Ethics Commission’s recent approval of an agreement between the state inspector general and Tony Bennett settles the charges against the former state superintendent of schools.But the settlement raises more concerns about the loopho

    July 22, 2014

  • MARCUS: Tax simplification is no simple matter The governor and his select invitees to his closed tax conference last month praised simplifying Indiana’s tax code. It is an idea better loved by Americans than baseball, apple, pie or motherhood.There is no question that our national and state tax

    July 22, 2014

  • VILLAGE IDIOT: The sheer dumbness of an enormous dome There is a TV series about an entire town trapped under a giant, mysterious crystal-clear dome that appears out of the blue one day. The dome is impenetrable; no one can get in, no one can get out. Who made the dome? Aliens? God? A super-secret branc

    July 22, 2014

  • HAYDEN: Road to funding Indiana highways jammed If you’ve driven on either of Indiana’s two busiest interstates recently, you’ll understand why a blue-ribbon commission last week called for adding traffic lanes to those harrowing highways.The report, issued by the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on T

    July 21, 2014

  • LYONS: When academic committees play 'police' If one believes even a significant fraction of the horror stories in the national news media, beastly male behavior has become almost epidemic on American college campuses. Tales of drunken sexual assaults and worse multiply from sea to shining sea.E

    July 21, 2014

  • CEPEDA: Hispanic women flock to the movies My family attended the first morning screening of “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” which won last weekend’s box office with a $73 million debut.According to Lucas Shaw’s recent article “Hispanic Women Are This Summer’s Most Avid Moviegoers” on the e

    July 20, 2014

  • thelma CONRAD: A true Lincoln original The Cass County Historical Society has had in its possession for many decades several documents containing the signature of President Abraham Lincoln. The society never doubted the authenticity of the signature, given the fact that most of the first

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • OUR VIEW: Heroin plague spreads into our city We published a report in Friday’s edition of the Pharos-Tribune that delved into the city’s growing problem with heroin.In that report, Logansport Police Detective 1st Sgt. Dan Frye said he doesn’t know how much more LPD officers will be wrestling wi

    July 20, 2014

  • KNISELY: A day in the sun Every year I have my two nieces over for Misty and Me Birthday Slumber Party. The activities are always different, but the end result is always the same. It always ends with me being exhausted. Being single with no kids, my life is quiet. My life is

    July 20, 2014

  • PUBLIC FORUM: Addressing the morality of an issueAs superintendent for the Logansport Community School Corp., I feel it appropriate to respond to the July 17 article in the Pharos-Tribune regarding the dismissal of child seduction charges against former Logansport

    July 20, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

The Pence administration continues to cut Indiana agency budgets despite a state surplus of $2 billion. Is this wise management of state funds?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.