How will utility money be spent? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

How will utility money be spent?

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

August 5, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Water, Gas, and Light will receive about $90 million in credits from the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia over the next ten years.

Now city and WG&L commissioners must decide how to use that money.

One community group suggests investing the money into energy-saving strategies that will help reduce bills for customers who need that help the most.

In 2009, Water, Gas and Light is expected to receive close to $9 million in Credit from the Municipal Electrical Authority of Georgia, so what should the city do with that money?

"Try and do something to help them pay their utility bills and also to reduce power that Water, Gas and light has to purchase so that everybody will benefit in the long run," says William Wright, a member of the Consolidated Economic Development Corporation.

He says it would do no good to provide a rebate check to all 45,000 Water, Gas and Light customers. $200 per customer would only save about $16 a month for a year. Wright says a better option is to invest the money, take the interest earned and buy energy efficient light bulbs for elderly and poverty stricken customers.

"The other thing we want to do is introduce some energy efficient things such as compact fluorescent bulbs, LED light bulbs, that will reduce their utility bill from now on, too."

He also thinks WG&L should consider offering energy efficient appliances. "We might need to get into the business of leasing high energy efficient things like water heaters, regular heaters, compact refrigerators. All those things reduce the amount of power Water, Gas and Light would have to buy, plus it reduces customers utility bills."

"Certainly we have to look out for the people in our community who are less fortunate than we are. And I think it's a brilliant idea to come up with the new lights that conserve energy and that's one way we can give them credits, by passing out these items pro bono," said Albany Mayor Dr. Willie Adams.

To take millions of dollars in credit and credit the customers.

A committee made of commissioners from Water, Gas and Light and the city will make recommendations about how to use the money.

The finance director for WG&L says he believes energy savings programs are the best direction the city can take to benefit the most people.

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