Here's a switch.

A report issued recently by the Murray City Power Department shows that usage reached an all-time high in June 1990 and operating and maintenance expenses increased.Yet there were no rate increases for customers of Murray's electric system during the past fiscal year, and power was delivered to customers at a 99.98 percent availability.

The illuminating report revealed that during fiscal year 1990, electric sales were up 3.4 percent over fiscal year 1989, to a total of 253,998,204 kilowatt hours.

"This increase in sales was accompanied by a new all-time maximum peak demand for Murray's electrical system of 62.6 megawatts, which occurred on June 26, 1990," according to John Mohlman, power department general manager.

Mohlman said during that same period of growth, the staffing of Murray City Power Department declined from 52 to 51 employees.

But thanks to "load growth," the department's total operating revenues of $16 million in 1990 were up 2.56 percent over 1989. The report shows that as of June 30, 1990, Murray City Power Department had 14,259 customers. Of that number:

- 83.7 percent were residential

- 14.5 percent were commercial

- 1.8 percent were government and other

"However, the importance of the commercial load is demonstrated by sales revenue figures, which are 65 percent from commercial power sales, and only 32.6 percent from residential sales," Mohlman noted.

According to the manager, operating and maintenance expenses for fiscal 1990 of $12.4 million were up from the previous year's figure of $11.3 million, "primarily due to increases in the cost of purchased power from our wholesale suppliers."

Still, the power department contributed $1.4 million as in-lieu-of-tax transfers to the Murray City General Fund in 1990. "These dollars represent 8.3 percent of gross operating revenues and are roughly equivalent to the tax dollars that would go to Murray City if the local power system were privately owned," Mohlman said.

Murray's Power Department - one of only a handful of city-owned municipal power companies - boosted some other advances in its annual report.

The Power Department has completed a new 40 MVA substation, concluding a five-year upgrade of the loop-fed distribution system. Murray has also become part-owner of a new 345,000-volt transmission line from Craig, Colo., to Mona, which Mohlman says "can bring economy energy from eastern markets to our local electrical system." The line was energized in February, 1990.

Mohlman said Murray is also actively involved in energy conservation projects. "We are looking forward to potential savings achieved through encouraging efficient customer use of electrical energy," he said.