Mayor assures residents rates won’t go up as Dover Chemical leaves grid
DOVER (WJER) (April 18, 2023) – The city’s mayor says losing Dover Chemical as an electric customer won’t have much of an impact on residents’ electric bills.
Shane Gunnoe says city crews on Sunday helped the company switch from city-owned Dover Light and Power to AEP as its main electricity provider.
He says officials have anticipated the move and worked to make sure residents’ bills won’t go up.
The city has restructured purchase agreements, paid off debt, and will no longer have to buy as much power to meet Dover Chemical’s significant needs.
“AMP’s power study experts have assured us that over the long run there will be no increase in our purchase power rates. Actually, if anything, because of the work we have done, we expect there to be a very subtle drop.”
Dover Chemical was one of the city’s biggest ratepayers at around $2.5 million a year. However, Gunnoe says, the city was also spending significant money buying power from outside sources to deliver to the company.
“We’ve prepared for [Dover Chemical leaving]. We’ve made sure our residents would never be harmed in this process.”
Dover vs. Dover Chemical
The city and Dover Chemical, which is just outside city limits in Dover Township, have been at odds for more than two years.
The city added a surcharge to the company’s electric bill in early 2021 that has amounted to more than $40,000 a month. Officials claimed it was to make up for decades of free services Dover Chemical received.
Dover Chemical sued the city for defamation and breach of contract. The city countersued, accusing the company of civil theft and conspiracy.
The defamation and theft claims have since been dismissed. A court date on the remaining claims is scheduled for January.
Gunnoe says losing Dover Chemical as a customer doesn’t change his view on the surcharge that started the dispute.
“The job of a public official is to defend the public, to defend our ratepayers… There was a situation that existed that may have required Dover residents to be made whole. That was the intent of the surcharge. Obviously, that matter will be settled in court, but on the whole, the set of information I still believe exists.”
Dover Chemical has been paying that surcharge to an escrow account being held by the court until the case is resolved. That account now holds just over $1 million.