IMPA energy program is coming Jan. 1

BREMEN — The towns of Bremen and Argos recently cast the only "no" votes as members of Indiana Municipal Power Agency against participation in a proposed energy reduction program.
Tim Montague, Bremen electric department superintendent, told the Bremen Town Council this week that his dissenting vote, and the one from Argos, were outnumbered, meaning participation will be required. Bremen, Montague said, could be paying as much as 4.1 percent more for its electricity in 2011.
That increase should not affect Bremen's retail rates, however, he added. Montague voted no on the not-for-profit power provider's proposal because larger Bremen businesses already are taking steps to reduce their power and energy efficiency, while small ones aren't able to afford to do so.
IMPA provides power to Bremen, Argos, Etna Green, and Walkerton in the nearby area, and sent representatives to the Bremen Town Council meeting July 26 to talk about the proposed energy reduction program. But IMPA officials did not provide any numbers at that time about the cost of participation.
Montague told council Sept. 27 that a scaled-down version of the original plan had evolved prior to the vote, but said it is still evolving.
"It's here. We're going to have to pay for it," Montague said. "We'll just have to use it to the best of our advantage."
He told representatives of Bremen Castings, who were present at the meeting to receive a "Pride in Bremen" award, that their utility bill should not be affected by the IMPA mandate because 2011 increases were built into the billing.
The as-yet fully explained program goes into effect Jan. 1, with the premise of providing pertinent information — including audits — of homes and businesses to offer suggestions on how to reduce energy bills, and to increase efficiency. One major change is that the plan no longer calls for any state financial assistance to homeowners for energy efficiency investment, while businesses will receive some type of incentive to make improvements, Montague said.
The IMPA program is to receive lots of press as it rolls out in January, he added, noting that billboards, television commercials, and more are planned in connection with the "Good Sense" program.
In other business, the council received activity reports from department heads, and approved change orders in connection with the new basketball court project and street resurfacing. The board approved an increase of $950 for the basketball court, as a request was made to change the specifications from creation of an open swale at the facility to placing 81 feet of a 12-inch storm drain underground. The board approved a change order amounting to an additional $41,475.22 for the addition of another 75 linear feet of resurfacing, amounting to 694 tons of asphalt, as well.
The board also learned that the expansion and modernization at the town's wastewater treatment plant is progressing, with the concrete pour even a little ahead of schedule. Slip lining on the sanitary sewer on Baltimore Street has begun as well.
The board also approved, on the second reading, the 2011 budget, in which council met its goal of cutting $200,000.