The cost-of-service study was performed by Electric Cities of Georgia, of which LaFayette is a member, and utilized city utility service data from 2011 and 2012. LaFayette has not performed a cost-of-service study on its utilities since 2004, said city manager Frank Etheridge.
“It’s a process of trying to put together numbers that’s provided by the city in order to get a good gauge of how much it costs to provide the service of electric or water or gas,” said Derrick Craig, principal analyst for Electric Cities of Georgia and who assisted in the study and its presentation to the council Monday evening. “It provides a lot of information as far as what you want to do going forward. It gives you a good basis to help you make decisions.”
In short, though each utility — electricity, gas, water and sewer — varies in its individual costs of service to the city of LaFayette, none of them are entirely cost-effective as of right now, and the city’s utility services as a whole are leaking funds away from city coffers. That trend, said Craig and Katrina Bond, senior analyst for Electric Cities of Georgia, will only continue in the years to come.
In 2011, the city of LaFayette took in $7.3 million in revenue from its electric department and paid approximately $6.7 million in expenses. Had the electric department not needed to transfer $1.1 million to the city’s general fund, it would have enjoyed approximately $600,000 in profits; unfortunately, it lost half a million dollars instead.
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