Adam Schmidt representing Stone River Group and Vanguard Energy
Services came before the Executive/Economic Development Committee
earlier in the week, and before the entire board during its December
Workshop, to explain how he could help the county reduce the price
it pays for natural gas used by the county facilities.
Vanguard, which is out of the Chicago area, is the largest natural
gas supplier not affiliated with a utility, Schmidt said.
The county would not be moving away from Ameren as the carrier for
natural gas in this contracting process. Ameren would still provide
the infrastructure and repairs, if and as needed.
The Natural Gas Index (NGI) fluctuates month-by-month. He had
compiled a three year review of the county's natural gas usage for
all locations and prepared comparatives if the county had tapped
into a lower rate on what it would have saved in costs.
Schmidt said, "Because of your size, you can go out and seek a
competitive fixed rate and save a substantial amount of money."
January, February and March last year the rates were substantial
high due to a polar vortex winter. If the rates had been fixed, the
county's costs would not have been as high.
Schmidt referenced a graph that showed usage for all Logan County's
facility locations month-by-month in 2014. It showed 9,130 therms
used in January and 4,260 therms in November.
These figures were used for a baseline, Schmidt said.
Ameren's NGI price in January 2011 was $.70. A competitor was
Schmidt created a document showing how it would have affected Logan
County's costs in comparison if had been locked-in at the lower
rate. This rate included an $.08 fee the company charges that was
built into the index figures shown.
Over the period evaluated, the county paid $95,798 for natural gas.
If they had been with the lower provider, the county would have paid
$81,286; a 15% savings with a difference of $14,512 or $3,628
savings per year.
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The contract with the company would begin in May. Once under
contract the company would watch the NGI for a low rate for the
county to lock-in, with a decision to be made between May to
The county has a contract for its electricity that began last
year through the Vanguard and Stone River Group. Schmidt did not
attend the county meetings at the time the electricity was
negotiated, his boss did the presentations, but he did all the leg
work on the electric rate.
Andy Anderson asked if the city of Lincoln had been approached with
this? Schmidt said that they had not because there is not a
municipality natural gas program available.
Ameren has a deadline of Dec. 31st each year for its commercial
users to opt out of a contract with Ameren. If the county decides
for a different contractor, Ameren must be notified by Dec. 31, and
then the new contractor period can begin six months later.
Vanguard/Stone River Group is offering one-, two- or three-year
With Dec. 31st looming, there is no time to look for other potential
contractors. For that reason, if the county agrees to contract with
Vanguard, they would choose a one-year option for this year, and
then could go out for proposals from competitor companies, if there
are any in this area, next year.
The board is expected to approve the contract on Tuesday.