[NEWS] Investigation of East Texas Biomass Contract Launched
– by Mark Lisheron, July 29, 2016, Watchdog
Attorneys retained with your tax dollars will determine whether you are throwing good money after bad by trying to get out from under a biofuel deal costing Austin Energy customers $54 million a year.
The legal bill might reach $100,000 before lawyers are able to say if Austin has any choice other than to pay the cost of building a waste wood-burning plant that has for four years produced almost no energy.
Staff for Mayor Steve Adler on Tuesday confirmed the city had hired attorneys to look at the contract between Austin Energy and Southern Power, operator of the idle Nacogdoches Operating Facility in East Texas.
Adler asked for the investigation of the contract after complaints by City Council Member Don Zimmerman that utility ratepayers were paying for something they have never gotten.
Jason Stanford, Adler’s communications director, said he could not say when the city might have some answers. Much in the same opaque way Austin Energy entered into the contract, Stanford said there was very little he could say about the investigation or the contract.
“We’re still pursuing this with lawyers and when you hire lawyers you can expect things to take time,” Stanford said. “The mayor has said he has been wanting to find options.”