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Cape funds study to ‘municipalize’ LCEC

By Staff | Sep 25, 2010

The city is conducting a study to test the viability of municipalizing electrical utility services.
City Manager Gary King said Friday said the study was very “low key” and was merely an “early stage feasibility investigation”.
He said that as of now there’s no intent to disconnect from LCEC, adding that the study is an attempt to see if electrical municipalization is a viable option.
“This is just an early stage, due diligence to what this means,” King added.
The price of the study is $7,600, plus travel expenses, for Spencer Consulting Services and WHH Enterprises, Orlando area based firms that specialize in these kind of studies.
The study will be “at a high level” according to the documentation, and examine the distribution system, the transmission system, wholesale purchased power opportunities, purchase of electric system from LCEC and strategic issues, among other items.
LCEC Spokeswoman Karen Ryan said Friday that if the city did want to municipalize their service, they would have to acquire the infrastructure from LCEC through condemnation because the co-op has no interest in selling the equipment.
The city’s current franchise agreement with LCEC extends through 2016.
Ryan said that cities often look to municipalize their service, but more often than not find it’s too costly.
“It’s not unusual for cities to take a look at things like this during budget season,” Ryan said.
Councilmember Pete Brandt said the biggest risk facing the city if they did decide to municipalize was taking on a business.
For now, Brandt echoed King’s statements that it was merely a look-see, and nothing has yet been decided.
“All we’re trying to do is take everything out and look at it,” he said.
Councilmember Marty McClain said he had not been informed the study was being conducted.