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UTILITY BOARD HOLDS SECOND PUBLIC HEARING AND APPROVES FISCAL YEAR 2012 BUDGET AND FIVE-YEAR FINANCIAL PLAN; APPROVES CONTRACT FOR DESIGN & INSTALLATION OF WIND TURBINES AT CUDJOE ELECTRICAL SUBSTATION

09/15/2011 ~ The Utility Board held a second public hearing and approved Keys Energy Services (KEYS) Fiscal Year (FY)* 2012 budget and five-year financial plan (2012 – 2016), during their regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, September 13th.

The FY 2012 budget for KEYS is $108.5-million and takes in to account no base rate increase for KEYS’ customers during FY 12. The FY 12 budget is a decrease of $12.3-million from FY 11 and can be attributed to an expected decrease in sales and the cost of purchased power. Additionally, all Non-Bargaining Unit employees will receive a 1.25-percent wage increase; negotiations are still underway with Bargaining Unit employees with regard to wages for FY 12.

“The negotiating teams have been through more than 30 rounds of negotiations and have yet to reach an agreement,” said Lynne Tejeda, KEYS’ General Manager & CEO. She went on to add that, “KEYS formally declared an impasse with the Bargaining Unit on Friday, September 2nd, and will work with the negotiating teams to identify a Special Magistrate to help reach a resolution.”

Bargaining Unit employees are covered by a collective bargaining agreement with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1990, while non-Bargaining Unit employees are not. KEYS’ workforce is currently comprised of 98 Bargaining Unit and 41 non-Bargaining Unit employees.

Additional budget savings can be attributed to continued reductions to staffing levels through attrition. In FY 08 KEYS had 161 budgeted positions, in FY 12 KEYS is scheduled to have 139 budgeted positions. “KEYS’ payroll related expenses are on the decline because KEYS’ headcount has decreased by 22 through attrition in an effort to mitigate increases to customers,” added Tejeda.

In other business, the Board approved a contract for the design and installation of two wind turbines at KEYS’ Cudjoe Key Electrical Substation to Salt Services, Inc. The total cost of the project is $46,100, and is being funded by a State of Florida Clean Energy Grant which was awarded to KEYS in the spring of 2011.

KEYS’ staff will site both turbines at the same location, at varying heights, to help further study wind generation in the Florida Keys. The wind turbines will be installed at heights of 35 and 55-feet. The maximum output for each turbine is 2.4-kw** and energy produced will be tied back into the electric grid. “KEYS’ staff decided to install both turbines at the same location so with other variables held constant, we can see the affect of height levels on the amount of power that can be generated from wind turbines,” said Tejeda.

The regular meeting of the Utility Board took place at 5:00 p.m., September 14th, in the Louis Carbonell Board Room of the William Arnold Service Building, 1001 James Street, Key West.

*KEYS’ Fiscal Year runs from October 1st to September 30th.
**Kilowatt (kw) – A unit of electrical power equal to 1,000 watts.

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