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      City officials monitor electric provider costs

      The Rio Grande City Commissioners approved a resolution today to monitor the city's electric provider.

      "If we can save 2 cents, 3 cents, even a penny per kilowatt for the whole city it's a huge savings to the tax payer," Rio Grande City Mayor Ruben Villarreal said.

      Rio Grande City participates in the audit last year which is headed by a state backed steering committee.

      The city converted to digital meters about 5 months ago.

      The meters are meant to cut costs in the long run but the installation has contributed to a $9 million bill that will now be passed along to consumers possibly raising the current 8 cent per kilowatt rate.

      When we first got that a few years ago, 8 cents sounded really good at that time, Jackie Salinas, City Attorney said. I think the average at that time was 13 cents.

      But with rates as low as 4 cents, the increase in cost has city officials considering switching providers in the future.

      We are looking into outside sources that may give us even better rates, Salinas said.

      Rio Grande City is part of one of the poorest counties in the state, a reason officials want to get their constituents the best deal possible.

      "When you have fixed budgets and that circumstance you want to make sure that if you can at least stabilize their expenses or even reduce the would be great," Villarreal said.