Representatives of Ohio utilities shared a message foreconomic developers Thursday: Help us help your prospects.
Utilities need to know the size, scope, likely power demands and work of any development client to meet their facility and business needs, development and city officials were told at the JobsOhio Dayton Region Utilities Forum at the National Composite Center.
Electricity, natural gas, water and sewer providers need that information to serve companies who may be looking at Dayton-area and Ohio sites, utility officers said.
“Confide in us,” said Bob DeWitt, director, energy efficiency and business development services, for American Municipal Power, a Columbus-based non-profit that sells power at the wholesale level. “Give us the information we need, and we’ll be there to help you.”
DeWitt said that in his decades of work in the power industry, he had never heard of a utility staffer betraying confidential information about a potential development prospect.
DeWitt suggested that developers find a “technical contact” at their client companies to speak with utilities in areas where those companies may locate.
Utilities don’t ask questions about site location projects just because they’re curious, said Mark Sebree, development director for Vectren Energy Delivery. Vectren provides natural gas to 314,000 customers in West Central Ohio.
Georgene Dawson, an operations manager for DP&L, which serves some 500,000 Dayton region customers, said power providers need to know a prospect’s hours of operations, hours of peak demand and even plans for future growth, among other questions.
“Bottom line, all of these things are what we need to know as early in the (development) process as possible,” Dawson said.
Power and utilities are very much development issues, forum participants said. This week, AES Corp. — owner of DP&L — unveiled a $20 million array of batteries at the Tait generating station in Moraine.
DP&L serves 24 counties in West Central Ohio. The new battery array will help stabilize power delivery to that area and beyond, company officials said.
Andres Gluski, AES president and chief executive, said this week that AES’ Moraine investment represents the first advanced battery energy storage site in Ohio. He also said AES also plans to invest $150 million in DP&L to “enhance power and build out the grid,” he said.
Power officials also expressed concerns Thursday about federal environmental regulations and the future of coal-fired capacity.
Dennis Mingyar, development director for Buckeye Power, an electric power cooperative, said his company has invested some $1 billion into its primary coal plant to meet government pollution regulations.
“But that in turn has an effect on rates,” Mingyar said.