Kaneland energy conservation program hitting bumps?

Updated 7/31/2015 5:41 PM

The Kaneland school board is a bit miffed with its utilities-use consultant over a disruption in the services promised.

But a representative of Cenergistic indicated Friday things are back on track.


The on-site energy specialist for Cenergistic quit in early June, Kaneland associate superintendent Julie-Ann Fuchs told the board Monday.

She said Cenergistic officials told her they advertised the position, but there has been a lack of interest due to it being a part-time job.

Instead, Cenergistic has proposed using the same worker who services the company's account with a school district in Belvedere, making his job a full-time position.

"This should work very well," Jan Noel-Smith, director of public relations for Cenergistic, said Friday.

School board members questioned if that worker really would be willing, given that he lives near Belvedere and it would be about a 60-mile drive from there to Kaneland's southernmost school, Kaneland McDole Elementary in Montgomery.

Board President Teresa Graue Witt also asked about scheduling. The energy specialist is supposed to visit buildings after hours to check use of utilities, especially electricity, and compliance with the company's recommendations. Rather than visiting each school district each day, the worker would likely spend a full shift in each district on alternate days, Fuchs said.

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"Right now, that is about our only other option," Fuchs said.

The company has been sending a member of its regional office to do some checks. Fuchs said.

The district has not obtained monthly data reports. The reports are based on data the energy specialist inputs, including meter readings.

The contract does not require monthly reports, but the company is willing to provide them, and district officials can also run them, Noel-Smith said.

The district is due to review Cenergistic's performance in September, the end of the first full year of service. The first four months of the contract were spent setting up.

The board approved the five-year contract in April 2014, with only Pedro Rivas voting "no," contending the district could find the savings itself. Former board member Tony Valente later said he regretted voting for the contract.


The district pays Cenergistic $9,000 a month. The fee is supposed to be covered by the amount of money the district will save on utilities. The company predicted net savings of $98,000 in the first year. "It looks like it is going to do well," Noel-Smith said.

Bids were not solicited for the contract. Retired Batavia school superintendent Jack Barshinger was one of the Cenergistic representatives seeking the Kaneland deal.

Cenergistic started business as Energy Education Inc. in the late 1980s. Current clients include school districts in Glen Ellyn, Wheeling, Palatine, Downers Grove, Wheaton and West Chicago.

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