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Board of Aldermen discuss city’s electric services

by Kaden Quinn | September 14, 2022 at 4:05 a.m.
California City Hall

As equipment continues to age and prices continue to rise, the City of California looks to keep ahead of the times to stay functional.

During the Board of Aldermen's Sept. 6 meeting, the City of California electric department supervisor Tyler Dicus discussed updates that would need to be made in the near future.

"What (Dicus) is talking about is that everything that we're trying to buy in electric is triple what it was a couple of years ago," Mayor Rich Green told the Democrat. "We're trying to keep everything in stock ahead of us."

Green explained laying electrical lines used to be a much less expensive feat for the city. He said if a customer had a 250- to 300-foot electric line that needed to be run to their house or to their business, the city would do it. However, due to inflation, the price for conduit, electric line and trenching efforts now costs the city $35 per foot to lay.

The department also notified the city of its cost of electric meters. Green said the city charges $8-plus for the use of an electric meter, however, the total amount for the city to install and operate meters costs around $1,000. He said the city would need 125 months of billing for California to break even and by then the meter would be worn out.

Although the board made no decisions on these two issues, it and the electric department will be looking at how to keep up with rising costs.

Aldermen approved installing an updated electric meter system for California. The system is a new computer software system which will be used to measure meter usage within the city. It replaces the previous system after a five-year lifespan, seven years of use and two months of partial failure.

"It turned out we had 110 meters that incorrectly read and that's how we bill people. If we're billing them too much or too little, that's not good," Green said. "We think we can get that (the system installation) done, hopefully in six weeks, but my guess is it'll take two months."

Green said $177,000 of the city's American Rescue Plan Act (APRA) funding will be used to put in a more modern and automated system.

In other business:

  • California city clerk Jessica Farmer announced she will be leaving the position on Sept. 23. The city will be looking for a new person to occupy the role after her departure.
  • The city bestowed a proclamation to California resident Vivian "Lucille" Barbour after she turned 100 years old. The board acknowledged the centenarian for her accomplishments as a wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
  • The board approved several reports including the city's Pooled Cash report, Expense Approval report, Estimated Payables report and the August 2022 Budget report.

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