Nick McWilliams reporting – The head of the executive side of the city of Dover recently addressed a supply switch for one of its biggest power purchasers.

Over the weekend, Dover Chemical Corporation switched from Dover Municipal Power to American Electric Power, something that had been building following litigation between the company and the city over alleged violations of ordinances.

Those allegations claimed that the city’s Electric Field Division had provided upgrades and repairs on equipment at Dover Chemical with Dover going uncompensated to the tune of an estimated $2.2 million, per Law Director Douglas O’Meara.

Mayor Shane Gunnoe told council that the switch from the city’s power supply to AEP for the company by their request was wrapped up Sunday, and that he did not expect significant changes to ratepayer bills following the move.

“The city has been proactive in preparing for that transition. To the residents of Dover, I can assure you of the following. Due to the planning of the members of this body [council,] Dover residents can expect no change in our residential, commercial, or industrial rate structures. Or the quality of our services. Our light plant will continue to operate in a normal and unaffected manner, at full capacity.”

Council had previously attempted to charge a surcharge on Dover Chem for usage over 100,000 kilowatt hours per month, leading to the litigation. The city filed a counterclaim in September after a stay was lifted on the suit, with the matters still circulating in the court system.

Gunnoe doubled-down, claiming that the city could see a reduction in the amount of power it has to source from other producers following the transition.

“In fact, due to our planning efforts, without Dover Chemical, we actually expect a small decrease in our city’s purchased power cost, beginning in 2024 and continuing on into the future. In regards to our residential rates, I’m happy to now report, Dover Power stacks up quite favorably compared to the AEP standard residential rate.”

He said that an analysis showed that city residents paid an average of 14.4 cents per kWh in 2022, a comparable rate to AEP standard rates for residential. AEP rates are expected to rise due to increasing transmission and production rates.

The chemical plant had accounted for over $2 million worth of usage in recent years.

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