Searsport signs new contract with PERC

By Fran Gonzalez | Jan 12, 2018
Photo by: Fran Gonzalez Searsport officials have agreed to continue with PERC for municipal solid waste disposal.

Searsport — Searsport Selectmen signed a contract with Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. for municipal solid waste disposal Dec. 19.

The move was previously approved by the board but no official documentation was available at the time.

Town Manager James Gillway said this week, "We've gone through it cover to cover. It continues our agreement with an agreed-upon tipping fee of $84.36 (up from $79.50 previously), with a 15-year term."

Many Waldo County towns last year chose to follow the Municipal Review Committee's lead in switching to a new company and facility, Fiberight. But a handful, like Searsport, decided to retain PERC for solid waste disposal despite an increase in tipping fees.

"We felt it was a better deal for us to stay put," Gillway said.

PERC has operated under a favorable contract with Emera, formerly Bangor Hydro, for the past 30 years. PERC sells the electricity produced to Emera, which in turn pays PERC substantially more than current market rates. The Power Purchase Agreement expires in April of this year, at which time tipping fees paid by member towns will increase.

The Municipal Review Committee, which advocates for over 180 Maine towns, has successfully managed the current 30-year contract with PERC. After the current PPA expires between PERC and Emera, MRC is partnering with Fiberight to turn municipal solid waste into industrial sugars and bio-fuels, according to the company's website.

 

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