Arkansas city trying to save on high utility bills - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Arkansas city trying to save on high utility bills

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

TRUMANN, AR (KAIT) – Members of the city council, fire department, police department, road crew and other offices met with CLEAResult Consulting for an energy efficiency workshop Tuesday morning at the Trumann Fire Department. CLEAResult administered the City Smart program on behalf of Entergy Arkansas. The City Smart program was designed to assist municipalities and schools in saving money on utility bills.

"City Smart through Entergy, it's an evaluation program that will assist the city in helping us to monitor our utilities more closely," said Trumann Mayor Sheila Walters. "We have just monitored all of our expenses closely. We have one gentleman who quite in the street department. I didn't replace him simply economically."

Walters said the city budget remains stable; however, she said she was concerned about the rising cost of fuel and energy.

"In these hard times, you don't know what's coming and you need a little nest egg back for the high price of the gasoline that probably wasn't taken into consideration as much as it needed to be," said Walters.

Walters said the three-hour meeting Tuesday morning would help the city develop a long and short term plan to save money on utilities. According to the Energy Benchmarking Report for the City of Trumann, the city used an average amount of energy compared to cities of similar size. The report said the highest performing buildings were the community building and public library, both above 75% of other municipalities. The lower performers were the city road shop and park shop.

"We have 25 buildings that we maintain, and our utility bill, counting street lighting and everything, our utility bill for January was $16,000," said Walters.

The majority of the city's utility bill originates from the police and fire departments at about $15,000 per year, according to the report.

"This meeting today will establish a long time plan for the city, and now we can save money on our utilities because we're going to need that money for other things," said Walters. "We have budgeted appropriately for this year; however, there won't be a lot of monies left over at the end of the year."

Walters said the silver lining in utility bills was that the city could save. According to the report sponsored by Entergy Arkansas, the city could save $5,000 if it cut 10% of its bill, $10,000 if it cut 20% and $14,000 if it cut 30%.

"Out of the workshop, we provide an energy action plan, which is providing some long term and short term action items for saving energy," said Sadie Bronk, CLEAResult Consultant. "The program is really geared toward city and local schools and it's all about providing cash incentives for projects and also there's a non-cash incentive portion to the program if you sign up and one of those is this workshop."

Bronk told city staff that lighting plays a huge role in utility expenses. She said common practices must be kept to easily save.

"The first place to look is lighting. T12 lighting, you're going to want to take them out and install super high efficiency T8's," said Bronk. "Turning off the light switches, just going back to the basics. If you're not using it, turn it off."

Bronk also said new equipment could help save on the city's bill as well, such as occupancy censors and other controls.

"It all depends on the building type and that's why in your benchmarking facilities you really want to compare a police station to a police station or a fire station to a fire station because you need that apples to apples comparison," said Bronk.

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