Pharos-Tribune

Breaking News

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
  • Sandra Stotsky STOTSKY: The next step redux in education standards Writing at National Review Online, Rick Hess and Mike McShane of the American Enterprise Institute make the complaint that critics of Common Core have not come up with the next steps to "repeal and replace" for states that want to restore academic in

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • WILLIAMS: Get out on the highway My son's truck is in the shop and my friend, Jan, was in the hospital so I had her truck in order to be able to go feed her cats while John used my car to go to work. Jan and I both purchased vehicles before we retired that we hoped would be the last

    April 24, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Indiana needs open primary elections Indiana's primary election system is dysfunctional. What the state really needs is an open primary system. This month, the Lake County election board argued about the procedures for recruiting high school students as poll workers for the May 6 primar

    April 23, 2014

  • KITCHELL: Tax bills show what smoke & mirrors don't There's a price to be paid for the decline in what we call civic engagement -- and local property taxpayers are paying that price. In case you haven't received your 2014 Cass County property tax statement yet, be prepared for a bit of sticker shock w

    April 23, 2014

  • MARCUS: Illinois brings joy to Indiana From the email this week, I sensed a profound need by Hoosiers to find joy in the problems of Illinois. Our neighbors to the west are fighting their way through a mess of their own making. They have forced themselves to raise taxes and cut services t

    April 22, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Let voters weigh option of easing daily commute There was a time in this country when workers typically lived less than an hour's walk from their jobs. A time when a "commuter" was simply a traveler taking advantage of a reduced railway fare on his way to the big city. A time when the American sub

    April 22, 2014

  • VILLAGE IDIOT: Wait a minute here — what did I just sign? When Dr. Sam said, "You've got the prostate of a 16-year-old," it was hard to keep from beaming. This must be how a woman feels when a complete stranger tells her she has a beautiful baby. Well, maybe not quite. Still, it was hard not to feel proud o

    April 22, 2014

  • LYONS: How we devalued the 'R' word At the risk of angering somebody like MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry, I sometimes used to joke that I only look white. Actually, I'm Irish. Meaning basically that I wasn't raised to think the man in the big house had all the answers, nor deserved all t

    April 21, 2014

  • HAYDEN: Want better teacher ratings? Ask the kids The state may be back where it started, encumbered with a flawed teacher grading system, a year after implementing what were meant to be tough new standards. That was the general consensus of the State Board of Education days after teacher evaluation

    April 21, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Careful look at tax structure needed Indiana legislators this year created a "blue-ribbon commission" to study the state's taxes on businesses this summer. We hope the commission will listen to Larry DeBoer, a Purdue professor who might understand Indiana's tax structure better than any

    April 20, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

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

Should mushroom hunters be allowed to forage off-trail in Indiana state parks?

Yes
No
Undecided
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
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.