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RC?to examine natural gas contract, alternative plan

October 16, 2012
Jordan Travis - News Staff Writer , The Alpena News

ROGERS CITY - Members of the City of Rogers City Council will examine a current municipal natural gas contract as they consider an alternative being offered by the Michigan Municipal League.

In an effort to save money on natural gas for city buildings, Rogers City officials will consider a variable-rate program through the Michigan Municipal League. Prior to any decision-making, they invited a representative of current provider Intercom Inc. to explain their plan. David Shafto, a senior agent for the commodity wholesaler, spoke to city council at its meeting Tuesday. Ultimately, city council members voted to keep their current plan while they consider their options.

"We're skipping the first round of MML's" program, Mayor Beach Hall said. "We'll try to get in line for the second round."

After giving a brief rundown of what Intercom does, Shafto explained how Rogers City's variable-rate program works. It's similar to buying gas directly from a utility company in that the unit cost of natural gas can change from one billing period to another.

Intercom typically has saved the city around 20 to 30 percent by coordinating and leveraging rates for its customers, Shafto said. However, there's no way to predict what these rates will do in the future.

The MML is offering a similar plan with potentially lower prices for natural gas, Hall said. No MML representatives able to explain the plan were present at the meeting.

City Manager Mark Slown said the MML would like the city's decision as soon as possible in order to enter into a contract. However, it's possible the city could sign up during a second round.

City council members decided to hold off until they could come up with a cost comparison between the two plans, and asked Shafto to provide them with some data on city natural gas usage.

In other business:

Jordan Travis can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5688.



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