Albany, utility officials praise Water, Gas and Light employees

Albany utility gets good news/bad news financial report

ALBANY — Both Mayor Dorothy Hubbard and interim Water, Gas & Light Commission General Manager Tom Berry took time at WG&L’s board meeting Thursday morning to laud utility employees for their preparedness and professionalism during the weather event that hit the community Wednesday and Thursday.

And while the severity of the winter storm that came through the region was much milder than anticipated, both officials said staff’s preparedness was reassuring.

“There are no non-essential employees with a utility,” Berry said. “I’m very pleased with the efforts of our staff as they prepared for the worst.”

Hubbard thanked WG&L employees on behalf of the city.

“During a weather crisis, being prepared is very important,” the mayor and WG&L board chairwoman said. “Our people were prepared, and I’d like to thank Mr. Berry and our staff for showing their concern for the citizens of our community.”

The utility board got a good news/bad news report from senior accountant Ken Hutchinson, who went over November and December financials with the commission. WG&L made $227,000 above budget in November, but a dismal December for the Light Department ($727,000 below budget) dampened the enthusiasm of November’s good news.

“(Light Director) Jimmy Norman and his staff helped offset the poor month by cutting expenses, but you can only do so much when those meters aren’t turning,” Hutchinson said. “I think we can expect a good January, though, with the weather we’ve been having.”

The board voted to name commissioner Chad Warbington as its voting delegate on the Municipal Gas Authority of Georgia, which WG&L will officially become a member of in March. Norman was named alternate delegate.

Berry said he will discuss third-party billing with the board next month, and staff noted that more than 300 customers had signed up to get email notification of their billing. Customers may sign up for notification by calling the utility’s customer service department.