City explores privatizing Revelstoke Community Energy Corp., district energy system

The City of Revelstoke is exploring selling off the city-owned Revelstoke Community Energy Corp. and the district energy system.

Revelstoke city council is exploring new “governance” models for the city-owned Revelstoke Community Energy Corporation, including possible privatization of the RCEC and its publicly-owned utility.

The move came with next to no discussion at council’s Feb. 14 regular meeting.

A letter from RCEC president David Johnson asked council for $40,000 to conduct a ‘Request for Expressions of Interest’ process (REOI). Once completed, this document would be used to solicit interest from potential investors.

The letter notes the RCEC’s ongoing plans to expand the district energy system. Johnson writes that he hopes the REOI will “provide the relevant information for the RCEC and the Council to make an informed decision on the most appropriate way to progress into the next phase of the implementation of district energy in Revelstoke.”

The city planning department has been exploring several possible expansion scenarios for district energy in Revelstoke.

In late 2011, a city ‘Task Force on the Evolution of RCEC’ was created to explore options for the corporation that runs the district energy system in Revelstoke.

Minutes from an Oct. 31, 2011 task force meeting show just how concerned they were about public controversy surrounding potential privatization of the RCEC. President Johnson’s statement on the issue is noted in the minutes: “The explanation of alternate ownership models requires a sensitivity to the reaction of the community, both positive – gaining capital for the City for instance, or negative – selling a City asset. Thus a public or community relations programme should be undertaken before the citizens see the call for expressions of interest on BC Bid, or in the local paper.”

The task force even discussed the potential need for a civic referendum on the issue, though in the minutes they said they felt a council decision would suffice.

With next to no discussion at their Feb. 14 meeting, city council referred the request to the city’s budget committee. In addition, councillors Chris Johnston and Tony Scarcella were appointed to the task force looking into the future of the RCEC.

To view correspondence and documents relating to this plan, follow this link and click on item 7d in the Feb. 14 city council agenda.



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