City moving toward new power contract

DEIDRE CRUSE, Governmental Reporter

Mayor Mark A. “Tony” Gulotta said he planned to ask the Board of Selectmen to approve an interim agreement with NRG to furnish Plaquemine's electricity at a savings of some $1 million to $2 million a year.

“If they can arrange transportation and if the prices stay with what they quoted us, we'll enter into a contract,” the mayor said.

NRG is negotiating with Entergy to transport power to Plaquemine, and is in the second phase of a transportation study that will take at least 30 days to complete.

“This just takes it one step further,” Gulotta said of the interim contract.

After protests over high electricity bills last year, city officials asked for proposals for new contracts, and received offers from NRG and CLECO. The city also had the option of staying with the Louisiana Energy and Power Authority (LEPA), a consortium of Louisiana cities that currently supplies Plaquemine City Light and Water.

The prices NRG is offering would mean a system-wide savings of nearly $2 million, compared to last year when natural gas prices sent power prices up, or of around $1 million this year, the mayor said.

Gulotta said prices for natural gas, which is used to generate electricity, have edged up recently to around $4 per thousand cubic feet.

“It's still cheaper than the $13 high last year,” the mayor said.