BY SARAH GREGORY
The Greeneville Light & Power System (GL&PS) still does not have a signed contract with US Nitrogen for the purchase of electric power, but the utility fully anticipates reaching a contract with the company, GL&PS General Manager Bill Carroll said Monday.
US Nitrogen, a new industry whose facilities are now being built off Pottertown Road, is expected to be a major electrical power account for the GL&PS once the company begins operations in early 2014.
Carroll was briefing the utility's board of directors at the board's monthly meeting at the power system's headquarters.
The board also heard monthly reports and approved a report on recent audits.
UPDATE ON US NITROGEN
Carroll gave board members a brief update on contract negotiations with US Nitrogen.
He noted that GL&PS still has "nothing in the way of a firm contract" with the company, and pointed out that the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has become involved in the process.
Carroll said that, in the most current e-mail correspondence, TVA "basically suggested to US Nitrogen that TVA does require a standardized power contract."
He noted that he has not heard a response from US Nitrogen since that time.
"I don't know what the next move will be by any party," Carroll added, "but they're still very much interested in being here."
Greeneville Light & Power System buys its power at wholesale rates from TVA and re-sells it at retail rates to local electrical power customers -- individual residences, businesses, industries, etc.
Referring to US Nitrogen, Carroll noted that "They're spending money, and we're very much interested in having them as a customer. We'll be ready before they need the power."
Transformers are already on their way for the project, Carroll said, and GL&PS has also made US Nitrogen aware of timelines for construction related to the project.
"But we'll need to have some commitment for the amount of power they're after," Carroll added, referring to the Power Contract document which has yet to be finalized.
Carroll says that US Nitrogen wants to have electric power available for its operations as of January 2014. The timeline has been pushed back from the originally-projected November 2013 startup.
The board heard a report on recent audits performed by Rodefer Moss & Co., PLLC.
The audits were returned with an "unqualified opinion," which is the most favorable result possible.
A summary of results from the auditors notes no significant deficiencies and no findings from audits of financial statements for the current or prior year.
The board also heard reports from GL&PS Superintendent of Engineering and Operations Chuck Bowlin.
Bowlin noted that power outages affected fewer than 500 people for a period of less than two hours during the most recent winter weather event, in which much of the area was covered in ice Friday.
Bowlin also reported that the new Mt. Pleasant Substation was brought into service on Jan. 9.
Bowlin said the first "real-world test" of the substation occurred only days later when a phase came down on Jan. 11.
A breaker was operated and "everything worked perfectly," Bowlin added, "and the reliability benefits were immediately obvious because the [Mt. Pleasant] Industrial Park was not impacted at all by that, and it would have been three days earlier."
Paige Mengel, GL&PS Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Controller, gave a financial report to the board.
Mengel reported total December revenues of $8,694,678. Of that amount, $7,117,406 came from purchased power, payable to TVA, leaving a gross margin of $1,577,272.
After the system's December expenditures were made, the net margin was reported at $213,761.
Mengel noted that those numbers were better than during the same period a year ago, in addition to bettering earlier projected figures for the month.
The February meeting will be held on Friday, Feb. 22, instead of Monday, Feb. 25, since Carroll will be out-of-town to attend a meeting.
The GL&PS Board of Directors typically meets on the fourth Monday of the month.