Metro-East News

St. Clair County agrees to contract with Tylex as alternate natural gas supplier

A third party supplier is set to provide St. Clair County government its natural gas for its operations.

The St. Clair County Public Building Commission on Wednesday decided to have Tylex, Inc., instead of Ameren Illinois provide natural gas for the county’s operations.

Tylex, a Texas-based company, and the county agreed to a three-year contract.

Based off of 2014 usage, the county estimates the move could save almost $29,000 a year, according to county documents.

“It does give us a little extra (money) toward other bills,” said James Brede, the county’s director of buildings.

The savings would represent a 12 percent reduction in natural gas costs for a year, Brede said.

“We always look at our bills to try to be as cost effective as possible,” he added. “We’re always looking.”

Brede said the county has been using a third-party supplier for electricity for about six years.

Prices for natural gas in the county’s contract with Tylex will be based off of market rates, but the county does have the ability to obtain fixed rates, which would be beneficial when prices for natural gas are expected to be high.

Curt Wilson, a sales manager for Tylex, recommended the county do a combination of both fixed and market rates.

“I don’t see prices are going up this spring, but sometime between now and spring, look at locking in (prices) for at least next winter; let the remainder stay on index,” Wilson told commission members.

Temperature is a big driver when it comes to natural gas prices, Wilson said.

“If they do a fixed price and we have a bad winter, the savings could triple,” he said.

Previously going with an alternate natural gas supplier would not have provided as much savings, Wilson said.

“It used to not be a big savings going on gas transport, but Ameren’s prices the last few years have been really high compared to the open market,” Wilson said.

Ameren Illinois will still deliver the natural gas to the county, said Brian Bretsch, Ameren spokesman.

Bretsch said about 350 communities in the Ameren Illinois service transport their own gas.

“We support gas choice as another option for customers to lower energy costs,” Bretsch said.