Lawton considers energy deal with Fort Sill

Friday, June 14th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LAWTON, Okla. (AP) _ Lawton and Army officials are considering a deal that would let the city sell energy to Fort Sill.

Lawton now buys its electricity from American Electric Power-PSO, which serves about 500,000 customers in Oklahoma. Under the proposal, Lawton would buy electricity from a wholesaler, then resell it at a profit to the Army post.

Lawton officials have hired Dan Lau, a former AEP-PSO manager, to tell them whether the idea makes sense. Council member Glenn Devine said Lau estimated the deal could bring Lawton about $200,000 a year.

``I'd hate to turn a deaf ear to anything that's revenue,'' Devine said. ``I'd like to see the feasibility study to see what it's going to cost us to get into it.''

Devine said there was also a chance that other area power providers may put in bids.

He said Lawton officials previously looked at providing sewer services to the post but changed their minds because of the cost.

Fort Sill wants a power supplier that can take over management of its utility poles and other electricity equipment as the Pentagon tries to hire private companies for more services now handled by the military.

Fort Sill spokesman Bob McElroy said the garrison commander, Col. George Steuber, gave Lawton his OK to do the study, but has not committed the post to anything more. McElroy said the ultimate decision will come from the Defense Energy Support Center at Fort Belvoir, Va.

McElroy said the process eventually would be open for bids from others if the study shows the post can save money.

McElroy says the process has already saved Fort Sill and allowed it to update its equipment.

McElroy said the post recently finished a 50-year contract with Oklahoma Natural Gas.