Numbers show community center to be only a small part of increased Skaneateles power bills

In response to questions from village residents, village officials again addressed the matter of high power bills for Skaneateles, at its March 13 meeting.

Trustee Sue Jones said she brought it up because she had heard from two residents with questions about unusually high utility bills for February.


Village power use figures.

“People were concerned and really wanted to know the facts,” Jones said.

The village power utility purchases its power from the New York Municipal Power Authority. If it experiences a peak demand that exceeds its given hydroelectric power allocation, it must use “purchase power” to cover its remaining needs, which typically happens six or seven months a year, Director of Municipal Operations Bob Lotkowictz said.

Residents’ power bills have been high this winter, due to increased usage and the increased need for purchase power, Lotkowictz said.

Purchase power rates have been abnormally high this winter due to a nationwide increase in demand for electricity and natural gas caused by an especially cold winter, according to a statement released by the power authority in February.

Officials also addressed the notion that increases on electric bills have been caused by the Skaneateles YMCA and Community Center, which was converted to village electric from National Grid in December 2013.

According to figures provided by Lotkowictz, the community center used 137,100 kilowatt hours (kWh) in January 2014, accounting for 3.5 percent of the village’s total usage. The village’s total need for purchase power in January was 1,194,000 kWh — a 14 percent increase from last year (see sidebar).

Though the community center has contributed to the recent increased usage, it provides a level load on the system. Managing the peaks and valleys of usage are what can prevent the village from needing to use too much purchase power, Lotkowictz said.

“My point is 3.5 percent does not cause everybody’s bill to go up three times,” Lotkowictz said about the data.

Vote on this Story by clicking on the Icon


BoheaTea 1 year, 11 months ago

Village of Skaneateles Municipal Board Meeting Minutes. September 19,2011. "Therefore, the presumed amount of $50,550.36 represented as 2013's Revenue Shortfall with YMCA load addition is the amount that is presumed to be the new burden on the Village ratepayers. Comm. Moffa asked the question of how we structure this so that the Village ratepayers aren't unfairly covering this cost. DMO Lotkowitctz said the ratepayers pick up the tab." Yes the cold winter increased costs. That is not the issue. We Village ratepayers are picking up the tab - bottom line. I don't mind picking up the tab. I do mind being deceived. I do mind reading false statements in your column contradicted by the same person.


if 1 year, 11 months ago

The additional 137,100kwh demand from the YMCA resulted in the Village need to purchase 137,100 kwh of more expensive electricity. What would the bill have been if the YMCA had not been connected? Take 137,000 and multiply times .12. That equals $16,452 for the month of January for the Y. Now that the Y is on the Village multiply 137,000 x .06. That equals $8,220. We saved they YMCA $8,220 for January. Now when the electric chiller is running in August to keep the ice for the rink the usage will be 280,000kwh. Double January. Thank you Village rate payers for subsidizing the YMCA for all of us.


TresVrai 1 year, 11 months ago

I carefully read every word of the Village Board minutes over the past 18 months -- from September 2012 through today. Village resources were allocated to this project as documented in discussions recorded in the Municipal Committee Minutes over the same time period. Only David Blackwell spoke out about the impact to Village residents -- after resigning last spring. I understand he may have resigned in protest.

Never once did the Village Board even mention the significant issue of adding the Rec Center to our Village Electric. The mayor never included it on an agenda. Board members never brought it up -- even Lanning who serves as the Board liaison to the Municipal Committee was mum. Lotkowitcz never brought it up in spite of his detailed discussions of other issues regarding his department.

The Village Board had time to discuss a myriad of inconsequential trivia such as what kind of Christmas lights look best on village poles or whether a sign should be a few inches smaller. The Village Board's deafening silence on this important issue is unnatural and speaks volumes.


BoheaTea 1 year, 11 months ago

TresVrai. What is more disturbing is this volunteer Village Municipal Board unanimously voted to request permission from the Village Board to publish a quarterly newsletter to inform the village electric users of issues. The Village Board rejected this request yet there is no record of the Village Board discussing this request. More telling is in the following months meeting minutes of the Municipal Board Comm. Moffa reported the he met with Marty Hubbard to discuss the newsletter and lobby for it. Marty told Moffa that any newsletter would have to wait until after the YMCA is on the Village electric. Read it for yourself. Minutes are on the Village of Skaneateles webpage.


if 1 year, 10 months ago

Joe - Our electric rates for this winter were locked in last October by NYMPA - as reported in the Village Municipal Board Meeting Minutes:

November 20, 2013

"NYMPA Meeting NYMPA announced they had a drop to $44 per MWH from the current level of $52 per MWH. This should translate into a 1 cent (20%) drop in supplemental energy purchased power cost. This will help offset the impact of the Community Center (YMCA) joining the Village network."


This situation is going to the Post Standard so you can either be ahead of them or behind - if behind egg on face!


Sign in to comment