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Langley saves electricity

"Langley is implementing an electricity conservation effort while worrying about a possible spike in energy costs in the future.We've got a plan, Mayor Lloyd Furman told the City Council Wednesday night. Local governments were ordered by Gov. Gary Locke on Jan. 26 to conserve power due to the regional shortage.Furman said city staff is turning off computers at night and unnecessary City Hall lights, lowering thermostats at night, lowering thermostats in the library and public restrooms, and studying other power-saving ideas.Furman said the sewer plant has lots of lights, and some perhaps could be turned off if motion detectors were installed. Also, timers may be purchased to turn City Hall heat up or down, depending on the hour.Although other Puget Sound areas are experiencing big electricity rate increases, that is not the case in Langley and elsewhere where power is provided by Puget Sound Energy. Furman noted that when PSE purchased Washington Natural Gas, part of the deal to obtain state approval was to limit electricity rate increases to 1 percent -- but that's for this year only. Puget Sound Energy has also stated that it has long-term contracts that make its power supply less susceptible to the volatile spot power market .However, both Furman and Council member Neil Colburn voiced the opinion that increased power rates are likely in the future, and planning should be done with that in mind.Clerk-treasurer Debbie Mahler provided a breakdown of the city's electricity costs for last year. The total electric bill was $54,214, with the sewer plant and pump stations accounting for almost $22,000 of the total. The water system cost $8,901 in power, harbor and dock facilities $6,505, city hall and library $5,363, street lighting $11,131, and the visitors' restroom $600. "

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