By Rachel Ravina, Staff Writer
(Nov. 7, 2019) The Berlin Town Council on Monday authorized spending a little more than $13,000 from the electric utility contingency fund to cover the balance of the cost of a replacement generator.
“The … thing I think everybody needs to know right now [is] we are down a generator,” Town Administrator Jeff Fleetwood told the council, referring to the major failure of one of the engines in July.
Berlin’s Electric Utility Director Tim Lawrence said at the time that a piston connecting rod failed on the 16-cylinder engine at the William Street plant “and knocked a hole in the side plate of the engine.”
Town officials have been working with insurance agents, who have been investigating the cause of the damage.
Fleetwood said the town received a $15,000 claim from the Land Government Insurance Trust company and issued another claim for about $1.29 million.
Fleetwood added that the department plans to change the previous diesel engine to a new natural gas engine.
It would cost roughly $1.44 million to cover the cost and installation of a CATG3520 Natural Gas Engine, according to the Berlin Town Council packet.
There was $125,000 in the fiscal year 2020 budget for “power plant engine No. 2 No.4,” which leaves a balance of $13,600. That will be taken from the Electric Utility Department’s contingency or “rainy day fund,” according to the Berlin Town Council packet.
Fleetwood said that the temporary generator is expected to be delivered by Thursday, and is estimated to be installed and running by Dec. 1. He added that the temporary generator will stay “in place until August in September” because that’s when the new generator is expected to be delivered.
Lawrence cited cost and energy efficiency as reasons to switch from diesel to natural gas. He also said diesel fuel costs $2.30 while natural gas costs $1.80 per gallon.
“So you’re saving that amount of money in fuel, plus it burns a lot cleaner than a diesel engine,” Lawrence said.
This article was updated to reflect the insurance company’s name as Land Government Insurance Trust.