Traverse City Record-Eagle


March 30, 2013

Efficiency study gets audience



TRAVERSE CITY — A long-awaited efficiency study of Traverse City Light & Power gets its official introduction next week.
The Traverse City Commission and TCL&P board are holding a combined study session at Monday at 5:30 p.m. in the commission chambers, at which time they’ll receive the report.
The study was contracted after Mayor Michael Estes raised the issue of whether the utility efficiently spends money on its operations and staff.
Estes anticipates representatives from Hometown Connections, which performed the study, to give a relatively short presentation to allow time for questions about the nearly 100-page report.
”I’ve got my fair share of questions for them,” he said. “Some things are not clear to me.”
The study has been public for about two weeks and includes 77 recommendations ranging from putting more information in customer bills to better bookkeeping procedures for transferring money to the city. 
Pat McGuire, TCL&P board chairman, said many topics already are being addressed.
“Of course, this joint meeting is an opportunity for the city commissioners and directors to ask questions of the study authors,” he said. “In addition to that, we’ll get together and address the points of the study going forward.”
Estes said the study was more comprehensive than expected but didn’t address staffing questions. But he said TCL&P already addressed the majority of his concerns by recently eliminating some positions.
”(The study) did point out a few positions they thought were questionable,” he said.
Estes also believes the study settles the question about whether the utility should build its own power plant, though it didn’t specifically do so.
“In my opinion, it clearly indicates that we should be buying power and our own generation doesn’t make a lot of sense,” he said.

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