By Mary Smith
Weathersfield Township trustees Thursday joined with a group of other communities and the Trumbull County Engineer’s office to seek grant money to study use of natural gas to fuel township vehicles.
Trustees moved to apply jointly with the engineer, the county commissioners, Howland Township trustees, and Newton Falls for a Governor’s Local Government Innovation Fund (LGIF) grant. The money, if awarded, would be to study the costs, benefits and feasibility of the conversion of local government fleet vehicles to use compressed natural gas (CNG) in conjunction with conventional fossil fuels.
The engineer’s office is the lead agency in the application.
The 10 percent match required if the LGIF grant is awarded will be paid by the engineer’s office and the Trumbull County commissioners.
There will be no local match revenues required from the township, Trustee Gil Blair said. He noted township Administrator David Rouan and Trustee Marvin McBride attended a meeting recently in Howland with the county engineer and other potential community participants.
Trustees turned down a new two-year agreement with Direct Choice Marketing, through Direct Energy, Houston, for a Competitive Retail Natural Gas Program after numerous residents complained about having trouble signing up for the lower rate, which is $4.32 per 1,000 cubic feet of gas.
The company was selected for township residents through a broker, Buckeye Energy Broker of Hudson, township Treasurer Fred Bobovnyk said. It offers reduced rates across North America.
Bobovnyk said the township had “multiple complaints” from customers who had trouble getting through to First Energy to sign up for the reduced rate, especially senior citizens.
He added trustees decided they didn’t want to have to go through that again.
Bobovnyk said that right now, there are no other companies he is aware of offering lower rates.
The one-year contract the township had with the supplier will be over at the end of November, for the December bill, he said.
Rates will revert back to Dominion East Ohio Gas rates for participants at that time.