Luzerne County $3.98 million energy projects contract detailed

By Jennifer Learn-Andes -
Pedri -

Pennsylvania-based McClure Company will complete nine Luzerne County government energy projects for $3.98 million if county council authorizes its contract Tuesday, according to meeting agenda documents.

The company’s contract guarantees $5 million in savings over 12 years on energy expenses, operational costs and avoided capital repairs, the administration said.

Countywide lighting upgrades are the most expensive project — $1.24 million. More than 7,000 inefficient incandescent and fluorescent lights will be switched to more energy efficient fluorescent or LED ones.

A summary of the other projects, based on the agenda, proposed 82-page McClure contract and statements made by county officials:

• Prison plumbing and laundry upgrades, $712,228. The plumbing work is designed to control flushing and reduce water use. The laundry ozone treatment system will require fewer wash cycles and use less water and electricity.

• Central steam plant upgrades, $615,746. Located near the county’s Water Street prison in Wilkes-Barre, the plant has three boilers, but one is inoperable and another is too large and not expected to meet state inspection standards.

• New courthouse boiler installation, $414,353. A new gas-fired boiler will be installed to heat the courthouse, ending the building’s reliance on an aging and deteriorating underground steam pipe from the steam plant.

• Prison hot water system replacement, $235,674. The system that currently provides hot water to facility sinks and showers is “on its last leg,” a McClure representative has said.

• Countywide building “envelope,” $178,613. This work includes sealing of cracks in walls and window and door frames and the addition of weather stripping and door sweeps.

• Installation of low-flow plumbing fixtures at nine county facilities, $143,966.

• Addition of industry-grade insulation around heating and cooling units in eight facilities, $121,213.

• HVAC modifications at six facilities to modernize equipment and controls, $103,677.

The energy project is unusual because the county is not bidding out the work. Instead, McClure would complete the projects and provide a financial guarantee the county will hit specified energy reduction targets, officials said. Such guaranteed energy savings agreements are authorized by state law.

Another series of projects proposed by McClure will be bid out to determine if the county can secure lower prices.

The administration advised against bidding out the nine projects proposed for the contract with McClure, saying the county likely would miss out on guaranteed energy savings and incur additional engineering costs, the agenda submission said.

The county borrowed $7.9 million to fund energy projects.

Council also is set to vote Tuesday on a proposed $627,000 contract with Panzitta Enterprises Inc., Wilkes-Barre, to complete shower renovations at the prison and minimum offenders building on nearby Reichard Street.

Panzitta submitted the low bid. The showers have been leaking for years, causing damage and a safety concerns about broken tiles that could be dislodged and used as weapons, officials have said.

County Manager C. David Pedri has asked council to apply $150,000 from this year’s $11.6 million windfall to help fund the shower project.

In addition to this request, council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on two other uses for the revenue cushion, which came from debt refinancing, litigation settlement and other sources:

• $8.6 million to get caught up on employee pension fund subsidies — a problem that dates back years before the 2012 switch to a home rule government structure.

• $392,494 to buy three large industrial snow plow and spreader trucks. The administration said the fleet needed to care for 127 miles of county-owned roads is “aging rapidly.”


By Jennifer Learn-Andes

If you go

Tuesday’s Luzerne County Council meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the courthouse on River Street in Wilkes-Barre.

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.