DOBSON — Surry County electrical customers usually don’t have a choice about their service provider — yet the spirit of competition isn’t necessarily a good thing, either, based on an unusual situation surrounding a jail planned in Dobson.
Faced with a choice of awarding a contract to power the new detention facility to Duke Energy or Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Corp., the Surry Board of Commissioners chose the latter, but in a split decision.
That outcome reflects concerns by some commissioners that while the electric co-op will offer lower costs in the short run due to what one dissenter calls “teaser rates,” county taxpayers could face much higher expenses long-range by not picking Duke.
“I’m not interested in teaser rates,” Commissioner Eddie Harris said of a special economic-development charge offered by Surry-Yadkin for seven years, calling it “immaterial” and adding that he is more focused on the decades to come.
“Perpetuity is a long time — that’s forever.”
“Both are great companies, it’s not about that,” said Commissioner Van Tucker, who voted against using Surry-Yadkin during a meeting when Harris was absent, being outvoted by fellow commissioners Bill Goins, Larry Johnson and Mark Marion.
In a later meeting, Tucker sided with Harris on the…