City Council was stunned to learn Monday that Black Hills Energy wants to more than double the annual cost of the city’s high-efficiency LED street lights — a $1-million increase that would erase the savings from the low-energy street lights.
That savings also is the money the city uses to pay off the $4.2million LED program — which Black Hills helped create.
“This is a slap in the face,” Council President Steve Nawrocki told City Manager Sam Azad after he explained that Black Hills wants an extra $940,000 a year for street light costs and $60,000 more for traffic lights. That basically doubles what the city has been paying.
For example, the city spent $2.1 million on street lights in 2013. After the LED lights were installed, that annual bill dropped to $950,000 in 2016.
It is naked greed like this that will be the death of utilities. The city pays for new lights in order to save money on their electric bill, then when they do save money the utility company wants it back.