The Smithfield Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to join other members of the NC Eastern Municipal Power Agency to sell their share of power generating assets to Duke Progress Energy at a price of $1.2 billion.
Thirty-two towns and cities across eastern NC make up the NCEMPA including the towns of Benson, Smithfield, Selma, Clayton, Fremont, Pikeville and Wilson.
Roy Jones with ElectriCities told council members they can expect to see an approximate 18 percent decrease in wholesale power rates, which could in turn reduce retail power costs to Smithfield residential and business customers from 10 to 12 percent. Currently, a power services study is underway to determine how to best adjust rates.
The sale of the power generating assets will reduce the debt owed by Smithfield from $52.1 million to $12.9 million. Among the cost savings is about $325,000 the Town of Smithfield pays in interest each year on the debt.
The Smithfield Town Council unanimously approved the sale.
On May 12, the Selma Town Council approved a similar sales agreement. Selma will see a 15% wholesale drop in power costs. How much of that will be passed onto Selma business and homeowners will depend on a similar cost of service rate study being conducted.