Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011
By William Kincaid
Electricity use rockets
  CELINA - Electricity usage surged in Celina last month as the city experienced hot and humid weather. One day may have been record-breaking.
Utility customers used 22.16 megawatt hours in July, compared to 18 megawatt hours in June. Usage in the earlier months ranged from 13.2 in April to 20.1 in January.
The city registered a peak of 46 megawatts moving through the system at 3:30 p.m. July 21, which is likely a record, city electric distribution superintendent Jeff Severns said.
The average temperature for Celina in July was 89.3 degrees, the second highest since the 1960s.
High energy usage may indicate the economy is coming around, Celina Planning and Community Development Director Kent Bryan said.
City officials won't get the electricity bill from American Municipal Power (AMP) for July until some time later this month. The city's June electricity bill was $934,210.35, which includes capacity and transmission charges.
In other electricity news, AMP last week officially took ownership of a natural gas-fired generation plant in Fremont that will produce electricity for Celina and 84 other communities.
"The AMP Fremont Energy Center (AFEC) is a natural gas combined cycle facility, which will supply intermediate power to participating AMP member communities," an AMP press release states. "Intermediate power is energy needed Monday (through) Friday during the 16 highest demand hours."
The plant is expected to produce 544 megawatts and also has a duct-firing process that allows for the generation of an additional 163 megawatts during peak demand periods, such as in the summer.
"In the end, it came together very well," Bryan said about AMP member participation in the project.
City council members in June authorized the city to purchase 7.5 megawatts of electricity from the plant beginning next year.
The estimated price of a megawatt from Fremont is $52.32 to $53.25 between 2012 and 2014 and $57.06 to $66.15 between 2015 and 2020. A power sales agreement would last 35 years, and the city would essentially own about 1 percent of the plant.
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