Dollar General as the Company Store to the GRU Biomass Incinerator delivery truck traffic. Beer and wine sales likely to soar.
The City of Alachua’s new Dollar General Store – crudely annexed away from the historic Hague community, was largely justified by the existence of the Gainesville Biomass plant and the hundreds of thirsty truckers who would haul wood chips to the incinerator.
The existence of the GRU/GREC Incinerator was justified when the Gainesville City Commission allowed GRU to sell power to the City of Alachua at below market price – a strategy that encumbered City of Gainesville ratepayers to make up the difference as a virtual “tax”. This maneuver allowed the Alachua City commission to tacitly approve the incinerator while officially refusing to write a letter of recommendation to the Public Service Commission. The Alachua commission, therefore, got what they wanted while claiming not to endorse it.
The underlying issue for GRU was to demonstrate a need for more electric generation to the Public Service Commission to justify the still unneeded electric generation.
GRU electric “giveaway” to Alachua served to justify need for the incinerator while Alachua officials could claim hollow political opposition by technically refusing to endorse an incinerator they knew would serve to enrich a few cronies.
In 2008, Clovis Watson, then City manager, announced Alachua had reversed a decision to go with Progress Energy (now Duke) to resume an extended contract with GRU, even though Progress had won a bidding process in June to provide electricity to Alachua residents.
Watson claimed the decision to reject the lower Progress bid was due to rates, necessary infrastructure to switch service providers and also a change in leadership at GRU. (Sun)
Watson disingenuously claimed the recent (2008) Florida PSC decision to allow as 25% increase in rates could force rate re-negotiations with Progress. This claim was made without consideration that any contract with Progress would include stabilized rates throughout the life of the contract to protect against spontaneous rate combustion as Watson claimed. Instead of re-opening the bidding process, Watson more likely blew off the bidding process altogether for political advantage.
Even though they lost the bid, GRU was somehow allowed to undercut Progress “rates” after the bidding process was over. The irrational advantage citing a change of leadership at GRU (R. Hunzinger) only serves to indict a process cloaked in closed-door meetings, and redacted contracts endorsed by, then Mayor, Pegeen Hanrahan.