The Stephenville City Council recently approved an energy management services agreement with MP2 Energy (MP2).
“This program involves backup electrical generation units that power city water-pumping stations; they kick in when the main power from the grid to the city goes out," said Nick Williams, director of public works. "There are several such units around town. The ones enrolled in the program specifically are the Airport Booster Station, the Lillian Pump Station and the 377 Pump Station.”
MP2 enrolls the city in the Energy Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) program and manages the whole thing.
"Through that program, ERCOT pays us for the ability of the city to temporarily get off of the [electrical] grid," Williams said. “MP2 goes out and shops to get the best energy rates for each quarter. The basis of the whole program is that the electric generators of the city are usually on standby. But in this program, MP2 might call us up and tell us that to avoid a spike in rates we need to get off the grid and that we’ve got 30 minutes to respond and activate our generators. Typically the generators will run for less than an hour, which is great for the city because we test those generators once a month anyway as part of our routine maintenance. You don’t want to have a piece of untested equipment in the system; that’s the worst thing you can do.”
Williams calls the agreement a "win-win," one that gives MP2 a percentage of what they save the city.
The city expects to save over $20,000 a year by participating in the ERCOT program and the agreement with MP2. Even better, the potential for saving money doesn’t stop there because that’s not including any other cost-avoidance situations. An example would be that MP2 would call and tell the city that there’s an opportunity outside the normal testing schedule to save coming up in terms of avoiding peak rates. In other words, the city could turn on their generators more often than just the regularly-scheduled once a month testing.
According to Williams, the agreement with MP2 has an initial term that lasts until 2019, at which time the council can consider whether to continue.
“We wanted to get into this program as soon as possible because of course the summer months are the ones with peak energy charges," Williams said. "So we are enrolled for this quarter.”
Mayor Kenny Weldon said he, too, is pleased with the agreement.
“The ability to save dollars is always important and for us to be able to do that through this program will free up money for more critical uses. It’s much like a homeowner trying to find ways to save money – that’s what the city is doing. It’s as important for us as a city government as it is for individuals," Weldon said. "Hopefully people will recognize that there’s a conscious, intentional effort by city government to try and find ways to do that. Through this agreement with MP2, we’re saving money for the community that we can use for other needs. That’s the bottom line.”