Leechburg Area school board ponders deal to help reduce energy costs
The Leechburg Area School District could receive between $35,000 and $68,000 over the next five years if it enters into an agreement with a global energy technology provider.
The board will vote on April 24 to approve the five-year agreement with EnerNOC, which is offering to pay the district to reduce its energy output during peak demand periods.
Should the board vote in favor of the agreement, EnerNOC would pay for and install a smart reader to gauge the district's output levels and determine how most of its energy is consumed.
EnerNOC would pay the district per request to reduce output when high consumption levels threaten the area's energy supply, said Mark Lukacs, Leechburg Area business manager.
“Basically, they'll be monitoring our energy levels and paying us to save when they're experiencing an event,” he said. “It's a win-win for the district because it costs nothing to enter into the agreement and there are no cost consequences to declining their requests.”
The district is one of few in Pennsylvania without this type of agreement in place, Lukacs said. Another corporation approached the district with a similar offer several years ago, but was dismissed by then Superintendent Jim Budzilek because of the nominal amount of money offered.
Holding out then could prove to be a lucrative decision, Lukacs says, since larger corporations have gravitated toward these types of programs in recent years and are offering greater rewards.
Lukacs said it is too early to tell how and with what frequency EnerNOC would pay the district. The overall payment estimates come from the Boston-based corporation, whose closest office is in Baltimore.
Leechburg Area will be paid most often during the winter and summer months, when energy levels spike with increased air conditioning and heating use, Lukacs said.
The district will be able to better determine how it will lower its energy levels if the board approves the agreement by reviewing the data collected by EnerNOC's smart reader. Even if EnerNOC doesn't pay the district a penny, Leechburg Area will save in energy costs by using the meter's findings to improve its efficiency.
“It probably wouldn't be a huge amount of money,” Lukacs said, “but with funding being the way it is, it's important to find ways to save wherever you can.”
Leechburg Area is proposing its first tax hike in four years for the 2014-15 school year. As it stands, taxes will increase 4.2 percent in the district's Armstrong County communities and 3.2 percent in West Leechburg, Westmoreland County.
The proposed hikes are to balance the district's $13.6 million preliminary budget, which is plagued by ballooning health care, retirement and transportation costs.
Lukacs said district officials are waiting to see how the state Legislature responds to Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed budget before taking further action on its spending plan. The governor's budget, which determines state funding for education, must be finalized before July.
The Leechburg Area School Board hopes to hire a superintendent next month.
The position was left vacant in March by Terence Meehan, who was hired from the New Castle Area School District in December and backed out after the death of a family member.
About a dozen new applicants, in addition to the 13 that were originally submitted this winter, are being reviewed for the opening.
“We're really in the beginning stages of the process again,” board member Carlotta Del Vecchio said. “We are optimistic about making a hire in May, though.”
Braden Ashe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4673 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Body found in Allegheny River in Harrison
- Puppy, pals come to rescue of Lower Burrell firefighters
- Police investigate reports bus driver allowed Fox Chapel students to change clothes
- Christmas parade gets warm welcome in Saxonburg
- Retirements help trim Arnold budget
- Pair of crashes snarl Route 28 traffic
- South Butler students push composting as a way to slow food waste
- Congressman Rothfus visits Kistaco Farm in Kiski Township
- New Kensington-Arnold School Board reviews facilities use policy
- Apollo-Ridge closer to naming buildings, facilities
- Harrison man held in jail on molestation charges