Members of a citizens group that wants the city to have its own power company said Wednesday they will make a major effort in the next six days to boost their plan among the city's 4,000 residents.
Citizens are being asked to cast a special ballot April 19 either for or against the city having a power company. The city is now served by Utah Power & Light Co.City Council members say they will abide by the vote tally in either going ahead with or dumping plans to build a municipal power company.
Councilman Wendell Wild, who is a member of the citizens group and a member of the city's Power Committee, established several months ago to study the feasibility of the city's building its own power system, said he and others in the citizens group are happy that a 1st District judge ruled Tuesday that Logan can provide electrical power to Utah State University, which has been purchasing its power from UP&L.
"This is one more stroke in our favor," Wild said. "If the court had ruled against Logan, we might have had more concerns about our chances of starting up a city-owned power system."
Forty Utah cities have formed their own power systems, and Wild said cities all along the Wasatch Front are watching what happens in West Bountiful. "If we can set up our own power company, I'm sure a lot of other municipalities will want to break away from UP&L and set up their own electric utilities, too."
Members of the citizens group said they will probably phone citizens to remind them to vote Tuesday and perhaps provide transportation to those who might have difficulty getting to City Hall to vote, between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.
They said UP&L has written letters to citizens, promising lower power rates in the future, and there is the possibility UP&L may send out some other letters in the next few days.
Citizens group members John Call and Bud Ingles said they want to be ready to counteract any publicity UP&L might dispense. "We're ready to write letters, make phone calls or knock on every door in the city if we have to," Call said.
The citizens group's message is, basically, that a city-owned power company can offer residents and businesses cheaper rates and at the same time provide the city with additional revenue.
"Earnings from a city power company can pay for roads, road repairs, parks and many other improvements in the city," Call said.
The city must have some form of municipal power company on line by October 1988 to take advantage of a power allocation from the Colorado River Storage Project.
Wild and Mayor Jerry Thompson said starting up a city power company won't be easy, and there may be some legal costs down the road, but Wild, Call and Ingles agree that a city power company is well worth the projected cost of the utility $2 million to $3 million and possibly some additional legal costs.
The mayor and Wild said they want citizens to realize that, in voting for a city power company, they shouldn't be surprised if there are difficulties establishing the utility.
"Starting up any company is difficult, and building a power utility isn't going to be like falling off a log," Wild said.