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WG&L's revenues trending above budget

Photo by J.D. Sumner

Photo by J.D. Sumner

ALBANY, Ga: Revenues continue to trend above expenditures despite a rough month for the Albany Water, Gas & Light Commission's Water department, the utility's finance director said Thursday.

John Vansant III told board members that the utility as a whole was still $1.6 million better than budget predictions for the year thanks to a strong showing in WG&L's light department.

WG&L ended the month of October better than budgeted but the figures were buoyed by the initial $400,000 payment made on the sale of roughly $1 million worth of propane tanks. For October, the utilty ended the month $150,000 above budget.

But the Water Department saw an unexpected dip in their revenues, something Vansant credits to several different factors.

Following Thursday's meeting, Vansant said that despite the drought conditions, people are using less water for discretionary items like yard watering and irrigating and that the economic crunch also plays a part as people are working harder to reduce their utility bills by cutting back on water consumption.

The standardization of low-flow commodes and the popularity of more energy efficient appliances and fixtures could also have an impact on the drop in consumption.

Additionally, Vansant reminded the board that the fees the utility pays to be part of the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia will be going up by $8 million come January 1, which is down $1 million from an announcement made last month.

L2Networks to have first paying customer by April

The newest cable provider in Albany gave a presentation to the board Thursday, saying they anticipate signing up the first paying customer by April 1, with test customers likely to be hooked up before that.

L2Networks CEO Kraig Beahn told the board that initial indications are that the company will be able to provide high speed cable television, voice and Internet access at speeds over and above current levels seen even in tier 1 markets like Atlanta and New York.

Beahn said that the company intends to provide around 100 new jobs to the area with the majority of those being full-time positions.

Beahn said that the company is expecting a 48-month window to complete their buildout, but that customers will be accepted as early as April 1.

$140,000 in Utility Assistance has been used, WG&L officials say.

More than $140,000 in federal, state and local utility assistance has been given to local families struggling to cope with their utility bills, WG&L's Laurie Farkas said.

The funding came chiefly from two different sources, a program funded through federal stimulus dollars and a state program called HOPE.

While many families benefited, Farkas said that many others didn't qualify for the programs.

The funding, she said, had dried up to the point that there were only a handful of agencies out there providing utility assistance while the demand has grown.