Mayor Rusty Moody said that would be among the benefits if Eunice and Florida Gas come to an amicable settlement over mis-measured gas billings to the city.
Persistent loss above acceptable levels has plagued the Eunice natural gas accounting for several years.
It had been thought gas was escaping in leaks in the city system, but the fact that the losses jumped again early this year after repairs last year of a major leak caused the city to look elsewhere.
Moody retained consultant C.J. Arnold of Sulphur to analysis the city system.
A leakage rate around 5 percent or less is an industry-acceptable figure. The city’s shrinkage rate jumped again to more than 50 percent in March, April and May of this year.
It turns out that the gas wasn’t escaping.
Instead, it was being mismeasured, Moody said, as it flowed through the the Florida Gas meter on Fournerat Road.
A city study sets the cost of the improperly measured gas over the past three years at about $125,000 yearly.
Three years ago, the Morris administration had meters at the city’s major users checked and re-calibrated and asked Florida Gas to be sure its meter was counting accurately.
It seemed for a while that things were okay but variables involved evidently led the meter to begin again to malfunction. Such things as pressure and temperature can contribute to measurement variations.
Moody said the city is installing its own meter in the transmission line.
The difference between what the city pays for gas and what it sells it for has fallen so drastically that Moody’s current budget includes a proposed an increase in the city’s base rate.
“That may not be necessary,” he said, “if we get this worked out right with Florida Gas.”
The mayor also said the administration is studying a plan to begin replacement of all the city’s 4,500 gas meters, doing 10 to 15 percent a year until completed.
He said the approach would be to first put new meters in yards in which dogs pose a hazard to meter readers. The new meters will have remote scanning capability, eliminating the need for a city employee to enter a dog’s space.