People shopping for a bargain typically turn to the internet and the same is true for at least one cash strapped city in western Massachusetts.
The city of Springfield is projected to save more than $2.6 million dollars on its electric bill in the next fiscal year after participating in an online auction to purchase electricity. Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno announced the new energy contract on Friday. He said it was an impressive accomplishment that comes as the city is facing potentially deep budget cuts.
The projected electricity savings are based on current use and the new rates the city will pay for more than 135 million kilowatts of electricity to power its schools, police and fire stations, city hall and other city owned properties. The city expects to save more than a half million dollars on street lights and traffic signals.
Mayor Sarno said it is a significant savings in a city budget that totals more than a half billion dollars.
Sarno said the city is facing a projected budget deficit of almost $22 million in the fiscal year that starts July 1st because of rising costs, lower property tax revenue and uncertainty about state aid.
The city’s director of buildings management, Patrick Sullivan, and chief finance officer TJ Plante participated in the live online auction. Plante said five suppliers bid competitively for 15 minutes for the city contract.
The biggest beneficiary of the lower price for electricity is the city school department. The schools are projected to save $2 million. Superintendent of Schools Dan Warwick says that money will go to expand tutorial programs
The online energy auction Springfield officials participated in was facilitated by World Energy Solutions, a Worcester- based energy management services firm. According to the company’s website it has helped several government entities lower energy costs.