By HEATHER TOMLINSON
City officials are pleased with a recently-installed energy savings system at the Somerset Family Fitness Center.
During the Aug. 12 Somerset City Council meeting, Councilor Jimmy Eastham announced he’d been watching the results from the Black Hawk Powerhouse, a specialized piece of equipment that would help significantly reduce electricity costs at the fitness center, since its installation in July.
“They (the results) are really bordering on unbelievable,” said Eastham.
The Black Hawk Powerhouse system was developed over a period of 10 years and just recently has been made available to the public.
According to its website (www.blackhawkenergysaver.com), the Powerhouse can help lower electric bills, increase equipment life, reduce peak demand, lower maintenance costs, capture and use lost voltage, balance voltage, and provide surge protection.
The Powerhouse works to erase the external factors that influence the electric grid and result in lower-quality electricity — evidenced by flickering lights, failure of vital equipment, and computer reboots that occur without warning. According to the product’s website, the Powerhouse works to balance, stabilize and boost voltage. Simultaneously, it reduces and balances panel amp loads and improves power quality, even when demand is increased.
The Powerhouse can help generate significant savings through reduced electric bills, decreasing maintenance costs, and increasing equipment lifespans, according to the website.
The Powerhouse works to ensure equipment receives the appropriate amps and voltage, which reduces heat — what he called the number one “killer” of electric equipment.
The city-owned fitness center uses a significant amount of energy, and city officials are excited to see whether the Powerhouse significantly reduces the city’s electric bills in regards to the gym.
“That’s where we’re at, is a reduction of cost,” said Eastham.
Eastham said he saw first-hand through several checks on the equipment a reduction of amps used.
Eastham said amp reduction can depend on the time of day and how much equipment is being used, but he said the numbers have been encouraging.
The city council in July voted to install the system, which cost about $14,480. City officials are confident they’ll make that money back relatively quickly in cost savings.
“We want to be the leader (in energy savings) because we’ve got the energy hub here,” said Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler during the Aug. 12 meeting.
In other news from the Aug. 12 Somerset City Council meeting:
• Councilor Mike New thanked Somerset Fire Chief Tyler Jasper for his report, which was submitted to the council before the meeting.
“Looks like we’re heading in the right direction,” said New.
New also thanked Somerset Police Chief Doug Nelson for his monthly reports on SPD.
• Girdler said he appreciated Councilors John Ricky Minton and Donna Hunley for attending with him a meeting to discuss high gas prices in the area. The meeting was the brainchild of local citizen Micky Williams, who is heading a group that is trying to get to the bottom of what many say are unfair gas price practices in the county.
“At least we got the message out,” said Girdler. “ ... We are trying.”
• The city accepted bids from CNG Sanitation for a 2014 rear-loading sanitation truck, powered by natural gas, for $165,212.
• The city also accepted a bid from Cascade Engineering to supply the city’s recycling receptacles for its curbside recycling pick-up program. The bid, for $71,400, will cover a number of 35-gallon recycling bins, to be placed at city residences, along with smaller containers for apartments and elderly residents.
• The council heard the first reading of an ordinance to annex several lots at 2040 South U.S. 27.
• The city also accepted concrete bids for the next fiscal year. Tucker Ready mix received the contract for Class A concrete, at $71.89, and Pyles Concrete won the bid for Class B concrete at $70.