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Council to discuss power utility, streetlights

May 27, 2014
By JIM LINETTE ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

During a special public meeting at 4:30 p.m. today in City Hall, City Council will discuss two major issues involving LCEC, the city's electricity service provider.

Council is exploring both issues because the city's 30-year financial agreement with LCEC is expiring at the end of September 2016. The city is considering the value of establishing its own Municipal Electric Utility (MEU) to own and provide the service as it does with the water and sewer utility.

The city is considering bringing back its streetlight program, which was suspended indefinitely in 2009. Unlike the electric franchise fee, which is a General Fund revenue source, the streetlight program is a General Fund expense.

City Business Manager Mike Ilczyszyn will deliver formal presentations on both to members in council chambers.

"The city currently grants LCEC the right to operate an electrical utility system within the city limits," City Manager John Szerlag wrote in a memo to council. "In exchange for this franchise, the city receives 3 percent of LCEC's gross revenue."

Options the city has to consider include municipalization of the electric utility, the possibility of switching to a different service provider or renegotiating the terms of the current agreement with LCEC to generate more revenue for the General Fund. A small interdepartmental task force was formed to evaluate these options.

The current agreement with LCEC was established for a 30-year term starting in October 1986 and set to expire in September 2016.

The city currently spends $2.6 million to fund existing streetlights without providing additional installations. The objective is to establish a funding mechanism to once again provide this service to current residents and the new developments in the community.



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