Main committee deals with public utility budget plans.
In addition to the city’s core budget, on Monday the main committee also dealt with the economic plans of the wastewater disposal companies and the municipal utilities with the water and heat sectors. The committee recommends approval by the local council – there were still questions, especially on the subject of local heating.
“We have high investments with moderate earnings,” said managing director Daniel Wei ahead of the discussion. Because the Rheinfeld local heating network is still under construction. In the first quarter, according to the plan, the network in the city center will be further expanded, once in the direction of Werderstrasse and the silk weaver area. In 2020, the municipal utilities were able to implement more than 40 house connections, but they are not yet connected. “We are only just being set up and had to make advance payments,” said Wei. In 2021, the division will close with a minus of 30,000 euros.
At the start of the 2021/2022 heating season, Evonik’s waste heat is to be fed into the grid. Investments of 930,000 euros are planned for this, with 3.2 million euros flowing into further network expansion. “We assume that we will generate grants of one million euros from various sources,” said Wei. The further investments will be made through a loan of 3.2 million euros. This increases the debt level to around 10.7 million euros.
In view of the result, Gustav Fischer (SPD) asked “how do we intend to manage interest and repayment?” In addition, the local council assumed that the city would obtain the waste heat for free from Evonik. This is also the case, says Wei, but: “We have to pay for the system for acceptance.” There are also running costs, such as electricity for the pumps or insurance. It would still pay off. “In mathematical terms, we are at 2.5 cents per kilowatt hour. With gas, we pay twice as much.” The loan could have been completed with zero percent financing.
Heiner Lohmann (Reasons) asked why there will only be costs of 250,000 euros for an interim storage facility for contaminated excavation in 2021. “How did you do that before?” Lohmann wanted to know. According to Tobias Obert, head of the building authority, hardly any contaminated material has been found so far. “The heavily loaded was left straight away.”