The Rockport City Council, at its regular meeting Tuesday, July 9, approved a $177,808 change order to the Energy Conservation Performance Contract with Ameresco Water & Energy Solutions.
The city entered into a contract with Ameresco eight days before Hurricane Harvey. The contract basically called for Ameresco to evaluate everything the city owned that used energy, recommend solutions (i.e. – replacement old fixtures with energy efficient fixtures), and then make those changes. The expense for making those changes is funded by energy cost savings over a set period of time.
Since Harvey, there have been several changes in the agreement because the storm eliminated structures (i.e. – city hall) that would have benefited from the program.
The contract includes such things as energy-saving improvements at the sanitary sewer plant, and the replacement of the old water meters and gas meters that had to be manually read each month, to ones that don’t require physically going out and reading meters.
Public Works Director Mike Donoho reported the new water meters have been installed, but a problem arose when it came to the gas meters.
The original contract called for the replacement of 615 meters. Those new meters are on site and ready to be installed.
Donoho said the city planned to install those meters, and Ameresco was going to reimburse the city $20,975.50 for labor.
However, since the original contract was signed, an additional 543 meters were discovered that were not compatible, and an additional 92 meters that are damaged and need to be replaced.
Donoho noted the big difference in the number of meters actually needed is believed to be due to database entry errors that existed before the city purchased the gas system.
Donoho said city staff can’t handle the additional amount of work required to install the gas meters due to an increased workload for meter locates imposed by the AT&T and Spectrum citywide fiber projects, as well as staffing vacancies.
Ameresco will handle the installation of all gas meters under the change order, which will cost the city an additional $177,808.
That cost includes $42,837.50 for 575 additional gas meters, and $155,946 for the installation of approximately 1,300 gas meters for a total of $198,783.50.
The previously agreed to reimbursement to the city for installing the meters ($20,975.50) is subtracted from the total to come up with the $177,808 final figure.
That expense will be funded with Gas Fund reserves, and replaced to some degree by a rate increase beginning in the 2019-2020 fiscal year, which will be determined by the annual rate study, which is underway.
Finance Director Katherine Griffin said preliminary figures indicate a $3 increase in the minimum gas charge will cover roughly three-quarters of the expense.