Wichita County sees high savings on energy use for its facilities

The county is projected to save over $200,000 this year on energy usage.
Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 6:11 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Those wondering if your tax dollars are going toward higher energy costs can rest easy tonight.

Wichita County’s energy provider gave a presentation Friday showing the county is projected to save over $200,000 this year on energy usage.

Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom and the county commissioners weren’t sure if they were going to see any savings based on recent upgrades to county facilities and national inflation, but thanks to signing a long-term deal a couple years ago, they are set up for success for years to come.

“The county was able to negotiate an agreement prior to winter storm Uri when pricing was at an all-time market low,” Trisa Seawell, account executive with Direct Energy Business, said.

Wichita County is seeing unbelievably high savings on energy use for its facilities. Things that have helped included hiring a company to do a energy audit and making upgrades to each facility.

“The Ameresco showed that we have a $228,000 per annual apparent savings,” Mark Beauchamp, Wichita County Commissioner for Precinct 1, said. “Big components were led lighting, HVAC changes, even touched on water conservation and things like that.”

This, along with the contract they signed before winter storm Uri will keep taxpayers’ bills the same because the county is not paying more for energy usage.

“Some of the things businesses have to keep in mind is fluctuating usage and so with their agreement, they did not have a stringent bandwidth,” Seawell said. “Which, just like your cell phone, means you can use as much or as little without getting penalties. Whereas some companies will put a bandwidth on their contract where you are exposed to real-time market pricing which can be really high.”

“It will keep our taxes as low as possible so instead of seeing massive energy increases like everyone else is experiencing, we are staying pretty flat which is a good thing,” Beauchamp said.

The rate has been set through 2032, so no matter how much energy usage changes everywhere else, Wichita County will remain low.

“We were blessed,” Beauchamp said. “We got in before energy prices spiked so we have a long-term contract with the set rate so we are good for the foreseeable future.”

The county commissioners weren’t sure what the energy report would show on Friday, but after hearing the good news, they are excited on plans to continue to make upgrades to facilities for years to come.

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