Youngstown in no rush to choose heat supplier


City council won’t rush into a decision on which of two companies will provide heat to five city-owned buildings.

But several council members said Monday’s presentation by Youngstown Thermal, the current provider, left them uncertain if the company is up to continuing to do the job.

Carl Avers, Youngstown Thermal’s chairman and chief executive officer, said at a council buildings and grounds committee meeting that going with his steam-based company would reduce the city’s utility costs for the five buildings to $2.7 million annually.

The city paid $4,005,065 in utilities, including steam, electricity and natural gas, last year, according to the city’s finance department.

“We’ll take the information, process it and see what is the best proposal,” said Councilman Julius T. Oliver, D-1st, buildings and grounds chairman. “But Mr. Avers doesn’t seem to have a clear plan. We don’t want a situation with city buildings not having energy.”

Oliver questioned Youngstown Thermal’s “reliability” to provide energy and the “financial state of the company hasn’t been good either. There doesn’t seem to be a concrete plan. It’s all maybe.”

Youngstown Thermal went 20 years without a “single outage,” Avers said. Problems that occurred at Youngstown State University, when Youngstown Thermal provided heat and was – by far – its largest customer, were not the company’s fault, Avers said.

But others weren’t convinced.

“YSU seemed to be extremely frustrated by your company,” said city Finance Director David Bozanich to Avers.

Read MORE in Tuesday's VINDICATOR.

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