Heartland offers new businesses electric use incentive program

Posted November 7, 2013 at 10:16 pm

By Julie Ann Madden

Heartland Consumers Power District has an incentive program to facilitate economic development growth, which will in turn expand their electric customer base.

Heartland’s Large Load Incentive Program (LLIP) primarily targets new retail loads with an approximate electrical demand of 1 megawatt (MW) or larger.

These new customers would receive both a discount on their energy usage and a waiver of the demand charge for a three-year period, explained Akron Public Works Director Gary Horton at the Oct. 8 council meeting.

“They’re looking at a pretty good sized customer,” said Horton, explaining 1 megawatt equals 1,000 kilowatts. “If you look at our load, most of the year it is in the 2,500 to 3,000 kilowatt range.”

“We don’t have anyone now (who uses 1 megawatts),” said Bob Frerichs.

“It’s going to be very hard for small towns to get a customer of that size,” said Horton.

“Exactly — a needle in a haystack,” said Bob Frerichs.

“What they’ve really done is take it out of the small town arena,” said Akron Mayor Harold Higman Jr., “and put it in a bigger city like Vermillion or Sioux Falls (S.D.).”

“They should have an incremental (incentive program) for small towns,” he said.

“What’s better for the whole area?” asked Higman. “Several small businesses starting — accumulatively they’re going to draw more than 1,000 kilowatts — or one great big business?”

“The problem with one great big business is it goes to one locale,” he said, “and if that thing goes tilt, you have a whole big problem. Whereas, if you have a group of four little businesses and one falls out of the arena, it’s not that big of a deal.”

Higman suggested the motion to participate and send a letter stressing the small town situation with this incentive program.

At the Oct. 8 meeting, Akron councilors unanimously approved participating in this special incentive program and sending a letter. Councilor Bob Frerichs made the motion and Councilor Barbara Johnson seconded it. The vote was 4-0 with Councilor Chad Ericson absent.

Johnson suggested Akron officials attending a Heartland meeting on Oct. 23 also bring the matter to Heartland officials’ attention, and the other councilors agreed.

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