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Cold boosts utility's books

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- Albany Water, Gas & Light officials say that February was a good month for the utility, which ended the month more than $1 million ahead of February 2009.

In his monthly presentation to the WG&L board on Thursday, Finance Director John Vansant said that a harsh winter coupled with money paid by the Georgia Department of Transportation for a road-widening project on Gillioniville Road were directly responsible for the increase in revenue.

"It's amazing what one month can do," Vansant told the board. "With the DOT money and the cold weather, we've come out above budget."

In terms of departments, WG&L's Water Department ended the month $279,000 better than expected, with $250,000 of that coming from the GDOT to help offset costs associated with relocating 8,700 feet of 12-inch water mains on the Gillionville project.

That department was predicted to lose $200,000, Vansant said.

The Gas Department finished $200,000 better than budget predictions, which was a product of selling 13 percent more gas than anticipated, he said.

The Light Department was the top performer for the month, finishing $500,000 better than budget with a 7 percent increase in sales. It received $70,000 from GDOT to help defray trenching costs associated with laying 8,700 feet of cable with the Gillionville project.

WG&L's Telecom Department lost money during the month, but the loss was $12,000 less than had been expected.

In total, WG&L generated $1.2 million for February, Vansant said, which beat budget predictions by $1 million.

"That's great news, John, especially in these tough economic times," Albany Mayor and WG&L Chairman Willie Adams said.

With four months left in the current fiscal year, WG&L's revenue is now exceeding budget predictions by $230,000, with the Water Department behind roughly $50,000, and the Gas, Light and Telecom Departments each doing $86,000 to $100,000 better than expected.

WG&L is now heading into what utility officials commonly refer to as their "shoulder month" period -- a time during which electricity consumption typically drops as temperatures climb into a more comfortable range. As a result, revenues generated during other portions of the year "shoulder" the decreased revenues for those lower-use months.