The Ketchikan City Council on Thursday heard the results of a study that the city commissioned to determine what, if anything, could be done to improve energy efficiency in city-owned buildings.
CLEARresult conducted the study, and there were some suggestions offered during the special meeting. Council Member Matt Olsen gave a brief summary.
“Change lighting, change use policies, some things that were pretty easy to accomplish and have some quick payouts for us,” he said in a Morning Edition interview with KRBD. “They had some other things, such as changing out some motors in the sewage system, and changing heat systems from using oil to trying to reclaim the oil that was deposited in the harbor waste bins, and using that to heat buildings, as well.”
The study also looked into ways to encourage city residents to use less electricity. Available hydroelectric power is getting used up at a much faster rate than predicted, and the city is concerned about using its backup diesel generators too often. Diesel power costs significantly more, and Ketchikan Public Utilities customers pay a surcharge whenever the city needs to use it.
Olsen said that one suggestion in the study was a tiered rate structure, so that customers are charged more when they use more.
“For the average user, it wouldn’t cost them anything more, but if you’re using electric heat to heat your home, it would cost you more to do that,” he explained. “That led to quite a bit of discussion on the Council. No direction was given, but it’s something that, during budget time, we’ll look at.”
Other suggestions from the study also will be considered during the city’s annual budget process, which generally starts in late fall.