$200,000 Down the Drain and Growing?
By Josh Resnek
A report in last week’s Leader Herald revealed that the city wasted $140,000 on electric charges for one month because the city had apparently let its 3 year contract run out.
The city’s contract, which apparently ended sometime before the start of the new year, was brokered by Mario Cornelio for Patriot Energy in 2014.
Mr. Cornelio is the brother of City Clerk Sergio Cornelio.
Municipal electricity contracts such as Everett’s are in force for 3 years, according to two former mayors of neighboring communities the Leader Herald interviewed.
“It is highly unusual for a city to let its contract run out,” said one of the former mayors.
“When this happens, you are left to buy your electricity in the marketplace which is costly. The providers gaffe you,” he said.
The other former mayor was succinct.
“You need a contract. If you don’t have one, they stick it to you,” he said.
The School Department reported an overage of $80,000 in January, 2018 alone compared with the bill for January, 2017.
It is believed the city’s overage for January 2018 compared with the year before is in the $60,000 range.
The City’s Procurement Agent Rob Moreschi is apparently responsible for securing the city’s electricity at a guaranteed price to keep costs down.
This was not the case in January when Everett apparently bought its electricity in the open marketplace at a premium.
The resulting higher electric bills ensued.
Questions abound about February’s electric billing for the city and whether or not there will be another extraordinary overage.
And March is already upon us.
The city is presently without a contract.
According to the mayor’s Communications Director Tom Philbin, Procurement Agent Moreschi is right now reaching out to the state and considering the bidding process before entering into a new contract.
Both former mayors interviewed by the Leader Herald said the simplest thing to do without a contract is to use a re-seller who buys the energy from National Grid wholesale and sells it back to the city for a small commission.
“It is irresponsible to go without a contract for one day,” said one of the former mayors.
A STATEMENT FROM CHIEF PROCUREMENT AGENT:
“The City entered into an agreement to purchase electricity from Patriot Energy, a Massachusetts-based energy management firm operating in 20 states, in October 2014. Mario Cornelio, a lifelong Everett resident, was to the best of our knowledge an agent of Patriot Energy. Mario Cornelio is related to Sergio Cornelio. At the time the contract was executed, Sergio Cornelio was not an employee of the City of Everett; he worked full-time at the local restaurant Bucci’s Pizzeria.” –ROB MORESCHI