HBPW Receives $ 750,000 Emergency Loan to Offset Costs of February Cold Snap | New
HANNIBAL – Dignitaries from the Energy Division of the Department of Natural Resources, the Missouri Public Utility Alliance and the Hannibal Board of Public Works celebrated the granting of a zero-interest emergency loan of $ 750,000 in under the emergency loan program for municipal utilities.
Craig Redmon, Director of the Division of Energy at the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, welcomed everyone to the celebration, including HBPW Board Chairman Bill Fisher, CEO Darrin Gordon, CFO Paul Trenhaile , Director of Operations Mathew Munzlinger and Representative Greg Sharpe. He was delighted to highlight the MUEL program, a direct response to help communities following the record-breaking cold spell that swept through the region in February.
Redmon said the Missourians had no choice but to increase their thermostats and keep them there. Rising energy demand coupled with widespread supply problems has triggered a dramatic spike in natural gas and electricity costs in Missouri. HBPW was able to use emergency funds to avoid increasing electricity rates for residents. Redmon said some communities were on the verge of bankruptcy as a result of the situation.
Governor Parson responded by forming a bipartisan group to establish a high cost relief fund from February 10 to 20. On May 13, Parson enacted HB 15, ordering $ 50 million in zero-interest loans to be administered by MNR’s energy division. Since the department began accepting applications on June 2, about 53 municipalities have applied individually or through municipal utility boards since the department began accepting applications on June 2.
“I think it’s one of the best jobs we’ve done this year, and I’m confident this new program will help communities like Hannibal and ultimately the Missourians who live here,” said Redmon.
He said helping municipalities, some of which had used up all of their reserves, was a rewarding endeavor. In the worst case, communities would have had to pass the costs on to customers without the help.
“We did 53 municipalities in total, and they were able to avoid that,” Redmon said. “We’re just happy to have been able to be a part of it. “
Redmon expressed his gratitude to Parson for his leadership and prompt response to needs. He acknowledged that the program had effectively secured loans to municipalities and commissions. And HBPW officials and representatives were excited about the loan and what it means for the future.
“We would like to thank Governor Parson and the Department of Natural Resources for all of their hard work in making these funds available during a very difficult and uncertain time,” said MaKayla Robbins, Customer and Community Relations Coordinator for HBPW. “During the winter storm in February, we were able to ease the burden of high invoices from our customers due to our reserves. With this new legislation in place, we can now replenish our reserves and focus on the necessary infrastructure improvements. “
Fisher emphasized how grateful he was for the reservations, allowing HBPW not to pass the costs on to customers. And he said the loan would make a big difference.
“This check will go a long way in replenishing our emergency funds,” he said, noting that the total February bill was nearly $ 1 million. “That will keep us ready for sure.”
Trenhaile added that the loan would be an advantage for “the stability of the public service as a whole”. He said the ability to replenish reserve funds provides more flexibility in winter storms and to plan for budgeted infrastructure projects.
Munzlinger also pointed out what he was looking forward to.
“As Paul mentioned earlier, it replenishes our reserves so that we can move forward with some of these infrastructure projects that we had within our budget, and still feel comfortable doing. moving forward because we have replenished the reserve funds, ”Munzlinger said. “That way we can move forward and continue down the road by making improvements and not passing any of those rate increases on to our customers at this time.”
Daniel Dahler, Energy Loan Program and Energy Services Insurance Supervisor at MNR, said teamwork was critical to the success of the program.
“I would say the main reason it went so well was that we had a lot of teamwork between departments. We all worked together to define the different aspects of the whole process, ”he said, noting that the staff had experience in processing applications and payments from the ministry’s ongoing loan program. . “But it all came down to teamwork and all who wanted to do it to help communities in need.”
Representative Louis Riggs (R-5) praised the effort, saying Redmon’s leadership and working relationship with Jefferson City officials is ideal for residents of northeast Missouri.
“To have someone like Craig in charge of this is a real blessing to this field,” said Riggs. “If you need to do something you know who to talk to and her door is always open. Coming from this region, he knows what we need here.