Georgetown officials: Electric utility grows financial reserves, still below target

Georgetown's City Hall is located at 808 Martin Luther King Jr. St. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)
Georgetown's City Hall is located at 808 Martin Luther King Jr. St. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)

Georgetown's City Hall is located at 808 Martin Luther King Jr. St. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)

The city of Georgetown's utility is expected to end fiscal year 2018-19 with reserves of more than $6 million, which is up from last year’s balance of less than $2 million, a Nov. 26 news release said. The goal of the electric utility is to have reserves in excess of $19 million.

In addition to growing financial reserves, the city is working to contain costs for energy, the release continued. It said the expected bill for all the city’s energy in 2020 is $59.5 million, up from $55.6 million in 2019 and $52.5 million in 2018.

"Several factors contribute to these increased costs, including the relatively low cost of energy on the open market throughout the year, the large amount of energy the city is obligated to purchase beyond what is needed to serve Georgetown electric customers, and challenges associated with the city’s energy providers generating and transmitting energy to the statewide grid," the release said.

In 2019 the city worked to improve the finances of the electric utility to account for increased energy costs, which included selling assets, increasing rates, decreasing expenses and completing a management assessment, the release said. It continued that based on that assessment, the city is finalizing a new risk policy and retaining a new team to manage the energy contracts.

"The City is currently in negotiations with Shell Energy North America and Tenaska Power Services to manage the City’s energy portfolio, with a final contract expected to go to City Council for approval in December," the release said, adding the city hired a new general manager for its electric utility in October.

Earlier this year, the city sold renewable energy credits, or RECs, which resulted in more than $700,000 of additional revenue for the electric utility.

“The sale of the RECs does affect Georgetown’s status as a 100 percent renewable electric utility,” City Manager David Morgan said in the news release. “Right now it is more important that we stabilize the utility’s finances than maintain our renewable energy status.”

The city’s policy for its energy portfolio is for 30 percent of Georgetown’s energy to come from renewable sources.
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.


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