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Chicopee utility woos Callaway
by The Republican Newsroom Monday October 13, 2008 By PAMELA H. METAXAS

CHICOPEE - City officials are trying to get Callaway Golf Co. to buy its electricity from the municipal Chicopee Electric Light.

But Paul D. Waterman, plant manger at the Meadow Street company said recently Callaway won't make a decision until it can compare the costs between its current provider, Western Massachusetts Electric Co., and Chicopee Electric Light.

"We have had talks with the mayor's office but there hasn't been any activity along those lines and no firm decision," said Waterman.

Mayor Michael D. Bissonnette said he even asked Gov. Deval L. Patrick to speak to Callaway officials regarding possible savings during the governor's July visit to the firm's Carlsbad, Calif. headquarters.

Chicopee Electric Light General Manager Jeffrey R. Cady said the municipal utility has been working towards a possible switch by Callaway and other commercial customers.
"Because these customers are located within the City of Chicopee franchise area, we think they should have a choice of being able to select CEL. Why should these customers have to pay higher rates than other customers located in Chicopee," said Cady.

The mayor has said Callaway would achieve substantial savings should the company switch to Chicopee Electric Light.

WMECO spokesman Lacey P. Girard declined to say how much Callaway pays for electric service.

"WMECO currently serves Callaway and they are a valued customer. Over the years, we have worked with them on energy efficient projects to enhance reliability and keep costs down at their facility. We work hard to provide them with solid service and we will continue to do so going forward," said Girard.

Waterman said the golf ball manufacturer is always looking to save money.

Girard said WMECO has helped the firm with light project upgrades and compressed air system for the manufacturing process. "We are really working hard with them to keep their costs down and partner with them," said Girard.

In March 2008, Chicopee Electric Light asked the state Department of Public Utilities to issue an advisory opinion confirming that the utility may serve any customers located within the city's boundaries.

Cady said that in September, the DPU declined to issue this ruling and said either the utility or any other customer could petition the DPU for an adjudicatory hearing.