Biloxi leaders looking at energy costs to save money

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The cost of energy is on the rise, but Biloxi's city budget is not. That is why city leaders are considering a plan that would help save money on energy costs.

With a tight budget, Biloxi council members are trying to find ways to stretch the money they have. Councilman Paul Tisdale believes one way is by cutting energy costs.

"Every year you delay, every month you delay conservation measures, I think you let dollars go out the window," said Tisdale.

Allie Harris with Schneider Electric told the council that an initial assessment showed the city could save anywhere from $130,000 to $300,000 a year.

"It does seem like they are doing a really good job already," Harris said. "But we do see some areas where we can create some savings through replacing HVAC units and even looking at phone systems, internet and lights."

Four years ago, Biloxi Public Schools had an energy conservation audit done, saving the school district more than $244,000 annually. The cost of the audit and improvements come out of energy savings, meaning there is no up front cost. After 15 years, when the Biloxi School District pays off the initial investment, it will have put $1 million back into the budget.

"Currently, as of today, we are not looking at a balanced budget. And we are trying to get a balanced budget," Tisdale said. "Any dollars we can save, particularly through energy conservation, is a savings that will be realized and funds can be reallocated year after year."

The city council did not take a vote on the audit. But if the council does decide to move forward, the project would have to go out for bid.

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