New general manager for Georgetown electric utility tackles energy crisis

Daniel Bethapudi is the new general manager for the city of Georgetown's electric utility. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)
Daniel Bethapudi is the new general manager for the city of Georgetown's electric utility. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)

Daniel Bethapudi is the new general manager for the city of Georgetown's electric utility. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)

Daniel Bethapudi began his role as the general manager for the electric utility for the city of Georgetown on Oct. 7. He will oversee the 75 employees and annual $77.4 million operating budget for the utility, which serves nearly 27,000 customers, according to the city. While at Texas A&M University obtaining his master's degree in agricultural economics with a focus on econometrics, Bethapudi researched how energy crises impact the economy on a community level. City officials also said in Bethapudi’s most recent position as assistant director for College Station utilities, he restructured and replaced multiple energy contracts for an average annual savings of about $15 million.

How does your past experience make you qualified for this position?

I started working for Mid-South Synergy in Navasota as an intern in 2001. After a couple semesters they offered me a full-time position and offered to pay for my school. I started there as a business analyst and helped with a lot of business issues. I progressed to the role of engineering and IT manager and from that transitioned into the chief financial officer role. I took over in 2008 when the economy tanked. The electric utility was going through a financial crisis, but within a couple years we turned it around to the point that, financially, the electric utility had its best year in its 70-year history.

Have you dealt with a situation similar to Georgetown’s?

The co-op was going through a financial crisis similar to what we are going through here with the electric fund. I worked at the electric utility 10 years, then I worked for the city of College Station utilities for five years. While there I dealt with energy issues, energy contracts, power-supply issues and things like that. ... Excess energy manifests in the financial issues the electric fund is seeing. At the end of the day, I firmly believe that financially you have to be strong in order to meet your other needs.

What first steps are you taking to address the city’s energy issues?

Coming into this role and going through the interview process, I was aware of the steps the city was taking to mitigate it. Everybody knows this is a challenging role, but one of the reasons I took this position was because I felt comfortable knowing the electric utility itself is a very strong utility. From a service point of view it has really good reliability statistics. I was also comfortable with some of the things city leadership was doing to address the energy issues. If I were in this role when we were trying to fix the issues I would have taken similar steps. Making sure a proper risk-management structure is in place so that something like this doesn’t happen again is an important step. When you’re trying to manage a complex situation, you need to make sure you have diversity of thought and the right people on your team. That’s where we went out and issued [requests for procurement] for an energy manager—so that somebody who has access to a bigger market can help us offload or address some of our excess energy issues. Those are the two main things we’re trying to put in place in the next month or two.

When can we expect to see changes?

We have to take some small steps, but in the next year or two we should start seeing things turn around quickly as far as power supply issues are concerned. If Georgetown was a community that was was not growing, then addressing the excess energy issue would be handled one way, but we are growing fast. We shouldn’t start from one extreme and go to the other extreme—we need to take some short-term, medium-term and long-term fixes so we are addressing the issue in a responsible manner. Just because we have excess energy now, we shouldn’t turn around and offload everything because we have excess energy; a couple of years down the road we may have to go out and procure more energy because we are a growing community. Bringing on somebody with wider energy management experience should help us address excess energy issues in the short term and be able to come up with what I call bilateral trades so we can start moving the needle straightaway. We don’t need to take knee-jerk reactions; we need to be measured regarding how we go about it.

What can residents expect regarding their utility bills?

That’s a tough question for me to answer right now. Everybody at the city is working hard to make sure the customers' impact is addressed. All the steps we are trying to take in addressing the excess energy issue will hopefully have an impact on the rates. I take that very seriously. Rates should be reasonable for the service we provide; we’ll do whatever it takes to address that issue.
By Sally Grace Holtgrieve

Sally Grace Holtgrieve solidified her passion for news during her time as Editor-in-Chief of Christopher Newport University's student newspaper, The Captain's Log. She started her professional career at The Virginia Gazette and moved to Texas in 2015 to cover government and politics at The Temple Daily Telegram. She started working at Community Impact Newspaper in February 2018 as the Lake Travis-Westlake reporter and moved into the role of Georgetown editor in June 2019.


willie's grill & icehouse burger
Willie's Grill & Icehouse Georgetown location opens Jan. 20

The casual bar and grill serves burgers, chicken-fried steak, ribs, Texas seafood and more.

Lark & Owl Booksellers opened in April. The bookstore sells a variety of fiction and nonfiction titles as well as other items. The store also hosts regular author appearances and other events. (Community Impact Staff)
Shop Georgetown: 18 businesses that opened in 2019

These businesses opened in Georgetown in 2019.

The new 2020 Market, Scratch Kitchen & Bar opened in the Summit at Rivery Park development at the beginning of this year. Menu items come from local sources, including farmers markets, Gulf Coast fishing boats and country farm fields. (Courtesy 2020 Market, Scratch Kitchen & Bar)
Check out 20 restaurants that opened in Georgetown this past year

These restaurants opened in Georgetown between January 2019 and January 2020.

The Yard Milkshake Bar will be located at 940 W. University Ave, Ste. 120, Georgetown.
The Yard Milkshake Bar is coming to Georgetown this spring

The Yard Milkshake Bar will be located in the Wolf Crossing center.

The Georgetown ISD board of trustees meet in the Hammerlun Center for Leadership & Learning on the third Monday of the month. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Filing opens for Georgetown ISD board of trustees places 4 and 5

One person has filed for one of the two open board of trustee seats so far.

housing, development
Single-family homes sold in Georgetown in 2019 reach record high

"As we look forward to this year, the market is not showing signs of slowing down anytime soon," Austin Board of Realtors President Romeo Manzanilla said.

The Georgetown ISD board of trustees held their monthly meeting at the Hammerlun Center for Leadership and Learning, located at 507 E. University Ave., Georgetown. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Georgetown ISD awarded in school architecture competition

Georgetown ISD is among four Texas school districts awarded the Caudill Award, the highest honor in the annual Exhibit of School Architecture competition.

Texas oil and gas industry could see a major slowdown in 2020

The oil and natural gas industry paid a record-setting $16.3 billion in taxes and royalties to local governments and the state in 2019, the Texas Oil and Gas Association announced Tuesday.

This year Field of Honor will be Nov. 7-15 at San Gabriel Park. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)
Possible new program could bring more artistic elements to 2020 Field of Honor project

The Georgetown Arts and Culture Board was invited by the National Endowment for the Arts to apply for a $10,000 grant.

The top photo shows design plans for the mural; the bottom photo shows the current site. (Courtesy City of Georgetown)
New, large mural to be installed on the Gus's Drug building in Georgetown

City Council approved the mural easement agreement at the Jan. 14 meeting.

The persons elected to the positions of mayor, District 2 council member and District 6 council member will be in office until May 2023. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)
Filing opens for May 2 Georgetown election, race for mayor, District 2 and District 6 council members

Applications for a place on the Georgetown May 2 election ballot may be filed starting Jan. 15.

Back to top