Versailles Village Council discusses AES rate increases

By Meladi Brewer

VERSAILLES — The Versailles Village Council met Wednesday to discuss water sewage Scada upgrade and AES rate increases.

The council discussed and approved a motion to move forward with a resolution to approve Electro Controls as the service provider for SCADA upgrades to the village’s wastewater and water plant.

“We have discussed in in previous meetings, as this is something necessary to do,” Village Administrator Mike Busse said. “We budgeted for the whole thing this year.”

The original plan was to budget this project into smaller portions, but Busse stated they found, due to supply chain issues, a lot of the equipment they are ordering is six months out.

“To order equipment that is six months out and get it installed, and then we need to order more equipment that is six months out again, it could be several years before we get this thing straight and round,” Busse said.

By approving the new service provider, they said are eliminating the waiting game and ensuring parts are both available and received in a reasonable amount of time.

“What our real concern is that both of these systems are obsolete now, so if something fails, you have to rely on finding either a used part some place or you have to rely on somebody having stock on a shelf,” Busse said.

The new provider will be able to eliminate the uncertainty, install the systems, and program them right then and there to talk to one another to ensure efficiency at all times. The council approved the recommendation to make Electro Controls as the sole source vendor for the upgrades.

The council also discussed the AES rate increases in Versailles stating they will not affect Versailles Village customers.

Busse stated the village has started to receive questions from electric customers asking about the announcement of AES Ohio electric rate increases. He said the rate increase will not have an effect on the Village of Versailles’s electric customer rates.

“These rate increases don’t directly affect us. Now what does directly affect us is the fact that the power off the grid has become more expensive. Luckily we have contracts of purchased power and we are involved in hydroelectric projects, solar projects, we also have a coal plant in Illinois, among other resources, so that is kind of buffering that,” Busse said.

The Village of Versailles currently does not purchase any power from AES Ohio. The only part of the AES Ohio electric system the village utilizes is its electric high-voltage transmission network in order to move power from the electric generation resources the village owns in conjunction with other AMP members throughout the Midwest to the village’s connection point.

“Kyle Francis and I did meet with Trey Shepherd of Sawvel and Associates. We discussed the current rates, and we are fine right now,” Busse said. “What we need to keep an eye on is this power off the grid, and we also need to keep an eye on what AMP is going to charge us for power specifically from the natural gas plant in Fremont because we all know the price of natural gas has gone way up.”

He said they are going to have to look at the rates and increases again at the end of the year to see where everything is at. Busse currently holds a PCR. A PCR means he has the control to raise and lower the village’s rates based on what the power rates are.

“Of course I wouldn’t do this without consulting the council first,” Busse said.

The PCR enables a fund to be collected to store back for electrical funding. In the last year, the Village has cut into this fund to keep rates within the village down. However, there is concern for the funds in the long term.

“If electric and natural gas rates continue to go up like they are right now, at some point we will have to readjust our rates,” Busse said. “If it looks like a temporary thing, that is what the PCR is for.”

Busse stated right now the council does not have to do anything nor discuss rate changes as the rate increases do not currently directly affect the village.

The next Versailles Council meeting will take place Wednesday, May, 25, 2022, at 7 p.m., in EMS Building, 320 Baker Road, Versailles.

To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected]