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CPW gets green light for fast fill compressed natural gas station

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Wednesday, May 23, 2012

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The 2012 Ford Fusion is getting about 10 more miles per gallon with compressed natural gas than it did last August.

The 2012 Ford Fusion is getting about 10 more miles per gallon with compressed natural gas than it did last August. "It was like overnight. Something kicked in," said CPW's Bob Rhodes who drives the vehicle.

A compressed natural gas (CNG) fast fill station was approved by Greer Commission of Public Works (CPW) at its monthly meeting Tuesday. The station will be used to serve public and commercial vehicles. AT&T and Frito Lay are the first commercial vehicles who have expressed interest to fill their vehicles at CPW.

Commissioners approved the approximately $412,000 fill station, saving about $80,000 using CPW’s manpower. Delivery for the unit is scheduled for mid-November with a mid-December launch date.

CPW has a slow fill CNG station that servies a 2010 Ford F-150 and Fusion vehicle. It takes hours to fill those vehicles opposed to about two minutes for a fast fill station.

CPW has on order two larger trucks and is planning to order nine vehicles that will use compressed natural gas. Fourteen more vehicles will be able to be converted. The City of Greer has budgeted for five vehicles using natural gas and has a memo of understanding with CPW it will convert 15 percent of its fleet over the next two years.

“The more vehicles we purchase or convert in the future the quicker our reliance on natural fuel alternatives,” Commission Perry Williams said.

Rob Rhodes of CPW drives the utility’s Ford Fusion and said there has been a noticeable difference in the miles driven on compressed natural gas. “I was getting 20-22 miles per gallon and it seemed like overnight it jumped to 31 mpg,” Rhodes said. “Something kicked in.”  Rhodes said it appeared once the engine got acclimated to compressed natural gas the mileage improved.

Rhodes told commissioners that within a matter of months of the City of Asheville installing a fast fill station, “more people were buying cars from the Ford dealership.”

Chuck Reynolds,CPW  finance manager, told commissioners natural gas revenue is down $1.5 million from the projected $3 million. The commissioners shared their concern that the residential natural gas needs have subsided with warmer temperatures. The loss of revenue was attributed to a warmer than usual winter and spring.

“It’s not the best financial report I ever saw,” Board Commission Chairman Eugene Gibson said. Gibson said the silver lining was the actual April 2012 utility report was better than the same month a year ago and year-to-date is virtually the same this year as in 2011.

“The good news said Commissioner Jeff Howell said, “Is that the customers are paying less for utilities. However, it’s temporary and the weather will change.”

The commissioners were informed the D&D Ford sewer project would be taken 530 feet from the dealership to and under Hwy. 29 and to the city hookup. The Hwy. 101 at I-85 sewer pump station, 20 years old, will get an upgrade. The drought status is moderate and both Lake Cunningham and Lake Robinson’s dams are showing good flow.

CPW approved the following:

 • Customer-owned renewable generation rate for residents who manufacture their own energy sources such as hydro, windmill and solar.  The customer installing renewable energy will have an established code and service rate qualifying under renewable energy.

• Davis&Floyd engineering for the Wards Creek Sewer projects.

People mentioned in this article. Click a name to view more articles for that person.

Nick Stegall

Businesses mentioned in this article.

Greer CPW

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