Danville, Va., not expected to sell electric utility

Danville, Va., is not expected to sell its municipal electric utility, according to news coverage in the Danville Register & Bee and other sources.

On April 20, a study committee expects to complete and adopt recommendations to the City Council and Utility Commission, according to an April 13 briefing posted on the Danville Power & Light website.

Danville is a city of about 43,000 people in southern Virginia. It borders North Carolina. The Danville utility is a member of the Ohio-based American Municipal Power (AMP) network.

Instead of selling the utility, the committee discussed whether to recommend the Danville City Council and the Utility Commission first consider the following steps:

• Offer industrial customers choice of power suppliers,

• Hire a power supply consultant to develop a plan to reduce transmission and congestion charges, assist in the planning and purchase of power on the open market, and evaluate the city’s interest in the Prairie State generation facility,

• Reduce the annual coincidental peak demand,

• Install electric power generation facilities locally,

• Study the methodology for determining the Electric Fund contribution to the General Fund.

The committee also discussed whether to recommend making the Utility Commission an independent governing body.

The committee has been meeting since October, according to the Danville Power & Light website.

The panel was formed after large industrial customers served by the city pointed out last summer to the Utility Commission that the city’s rate was not competitive when compared to investor-owned utilities in Virginia and the national average.

While the city’s electric rate for residential customers is competitive with other power utilities, City Council members last September expressed concerns about future costs associated with purchasing power and transmitting that power to Danville.

The utility was formed in 1886 and is one of the oldest in the country. At the present time, Danville serves over 36,700 residential, 4,300 commercial, and 70 industrial customers with 1,800 miles of electric lines in the City and portions of Pittsylvania, Henry and Halifax Counties.

The Danville utility owns the 10-MW Pinnacles hydroelectric complex in Patrick County, Va.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.