If a private buyer is found for Saratoga County’s Maplewood Manor nursing home, the new buyer won’t be getting a power plant.
County supervisors will vote today on awarding a contract that will end a once-promising effort to take the county infirmary off the commercial power grid by having its own natural gas boilers.
“It probably made sense for a number of years, but now the maintenance costs are particularly high,” said county Public Woks Commissioner Keith Manz.
The $105,865 contract will go to Stilsing Electric of Rensselaer, which will decommission and then remove the co-generation system installed in 2002. It will also reconnect the county-run nursing home to the commercial power grid.
Stilsing submitted the lowest of five bids. The work will take place in 2013, though county officials don’t yet know exactly when.
The three natural gas generators have provided all the electric power for the 277-bed facility for the last decade. But a consultant engineer earlier this year said it now makes more sense to switch back to buying power from National Grid, because commercial electric rates have dropped in recent years.
The generators, worth $3.7 million at the time, were installed at no cost to the county by Siemens Building Technologies, as part of a contract in which Siemens shared in the county’s expected savings. However, the county has had to pay for the boilers’ maintenance as they have aged.
The county will save about $178,000 over three years by removing the boilers, according to Guth-DeConzo Consulting Engineers of Albany, which did a study.
The infirmary’s National Grid bill should be $20,000 or less, Guth-DeConzo estimated — while the cost of maintaining the co-gen plant will keep rising.
When the co-gen plant was installed, the plan was to provide electricity to the entire county government complex — but the cost of the wiring between the infirmary and other county buildings turned out to be prohibitively expensive.
The generators also produced hot water, but county officials said there turned out to be little use for that water within the infirmary.
The county is currently in the process of transferring Maplewood Manor to a new local development commission, as an initial step toward selling it to a private operator. Any sale, however, isn’t expected to be completed until late 2014, long after the generators are removed.