National Grid representative Dennis Eisenbeck visited the Lewiston Town Board Monday session, where he explained some of the problems created from the company's offering of electrical discounts to the town and its residents.
"Our billing systems were not set up this way," said Eisenbeck of the billing discount agreement National Grid assumed from Niagara Mohawk, which provided discounted power as part of agreements reached with the town as a result of the earlier state Power Authority relicensing pact. "What happened is that the billing system was reached with earlier parties."
Over the past year, town residents, who at one point enjoyed electrical power discounts of as high as 59 percent off their bills, have since seen that discount drop to 14 percent as the value of market contracts declined. That situation has continued, Eisenbeck said of National Grid's latest market data as it enters year four of its power discount agreement with the town. "The value of market contracts is lower than originally forecasted," he said.
Prices didn't go up; commodity prices went down at the end of every year. National Grid "has overestimated the power discount," said Eisenbeck
As a result, National Grid is now offering the town options, including re-examining the length of its reviews; applying an 8.5 percent discount and reconciling on a quarterly basis versus the earlier yearly basis schedule.
"The option also provides the town an opt-out clause," said Eisenbeck. "If prices go up there is flexibility to cancel."
Supervisor Steve Reiter said the worst-case scenario the town could have faced was a 4.5 percent surcharge adjustment, which it avoided.This option "is an attempt to smooth things over for residents," observed Town Councilman Ernie Palmer as discussions concluded.