Council Ponders Hannibal’s Electrical Future
The goal of providing 275,000 megawatts of reliable power ( annually) presents challenges-- and opportunities for the City of Hannibal. According to BPW General Manager Bob Stevenson, the purchasing process in the future could be simpler--and cheaper--than current contracts.
Stevenson addressed the city council Tuesday evening regarding proposed changes to power supply purchases beginning in June of 2017. The council approved a resolution authorizing a series of non-binding agreements with multiple power suppliers. The changes are expected to result in lower wholesale prices. Stevenson says current wholesale prices are in the low $40's per MWH. Competition could get the price down into the high 30's.
A separate project could produce even cheaper electric rates if the Missouri Public Service Commission reverses a prior decision. Mark Lawlor of Clean Line Energy spoke to the council regarding the Grain Belt Express project that proposes to channel power from wind generators in Kansas across Missouri and Illinois into Indiana. The Mo. PSC turned down the project earlier due to what if felt was a lack of demonstrated benefit to Missourians. The company is now interested in supplying power to selected cities in Missouri including Hannibal. Lawlor says the project could provide " thousands" of jobs in Missouri and $800,000 to $1 million in tax revenue to the counties the transmission line would pass through. He said the project could eventually provide up to 40 percent of Hannibal's electrical demand.
Although the transmission line would not affect Marion County landowners, Hannibal Mayor Roy Hark expressed concerns he has heard from landowners that would be affected in neighboring Ralls County. Lawlor told the council the company is committed to being a good steward by paying 100% of market value for easements and full compensation for damages to land and disruption to crops.
Lawlor says Kansas, Illinois and Indiana have given the green light to the project. The Missouri PSC still has to approve it.