M.A. Ferguson-Rich
Ohio.com correspondent


HUDSON: The city has been in the electric power business since 1911, says Frank J. Comeriato, and plans on continuing well into the future.



Comeriato, the Director for Public Works, reported on the state of Hudson Public Power to council last week.



Council has received a series of reports from various city departments this year, as part of a new initiative to aid in the annual budgeting process.



A reporting department is asked to outline its goals and strategies in light of the city's five-year plan.



Comeriato said their continuing goals include determining power requirements and electric system capacity, and maintaining competitive rates.



Continuing upgrades, and implementation of smart-grid technologies are further goals.



Moving forward with American Municipal Power supply projects is also part of the plan, but only those that fit within the power purchasing policy.



Council member Alex Kelemen said some Hudson residents have asked him why the city is in the power business at all.



Comeriato responded that it is a long-standing aspect of Hudson's government, and one of the advantages is that the power company is a non-profit organization.



Hudson Public Power does not have a set rate, like for-profit providers, and can pass on savings when lower-priced power is obtained from their supplier.



Another advantage is response time to power outages. Comeriato said the duration of system interruptions in Hudson averages 4.94 minutes.  For commercial, non-municipal providers in the area, the average is 87.99 minutes.



He also gave an update on the replacement of existing streetlights with LED lighting.



The replacements on Sussex Road, Essex Circle and Chadbourne Drive have been completed and there is a continuing plan for additional areas to be converted.



LED lighting saves approximately $100 per year, per light. 



Council president David Basil asked about the life expectancy of the LED lights. 



Comeriato said they have a 10-year warranty, but may last up to 20 years.



The current lighting lasts only around two years before needing a change, which costs $275 per light.



The LED lighting has an initial cost of around $500, but Comeriato says due to the longevity, the cost is quickly recovered.



In reply to council questions, Comeriato says that he currently sees no staffing deficiencies or problems.



The power company he adds, is self-sustaining and is not subsidized by the city.



When questioned about lower rates in some nearby communities, he said that cites have the authority to finance their power companies in a number of ways, and that many have subsidized operations.