Ama­zon, AEP seek elec­tric­ity dis­count

The Columbus Dispatch - - Business - By Dan Gearino

An Ama­zon sub­sidiary that plans to build more data cen­ters in cen­tral Ohio wants a dis­count on its power costs from Amer­i­can Elec­tric Power. It says the price break will only lead to a small in­crease in cost for other AEP cus­tomers in Ohio.

So how much is the dis­count? Well, that re­mains a se­cret.

The pro­posal re­ceived its first hear­ing Tues­day be­fore a Pub­lic Util­i­ties Com­mis­sion of Ohio ad­min­is­tra­tive-law judge.

Ama­zon is seek­ing the special deal as part of a plan to build up to a dozen ad­di­tional data cen­ters in cen­tral Ohio. That would be on top of the three — one each in Dublin, Hil­liard and New Al­bany — that al­ready are in the re­gion.

In a brief ses­sion that was pri­mar­ily pro­ce­dural, an Ama­zon rep­re­sen­ta­tive tes­ti­fied, an­swer­ing a few ques­tions from the com­pany’s at­tor­ney. Other par­tic­i­pants had no

to put down in an ef­fort to woo Pre­court to the bar­gain­ing ta­ble.

BrewDog sold a mi­nor­ity share of it­self ear­lier this year for more than $250 mil­lion to a pri­vate eq­uity firm. Watt and co-founder Martin Dickie re­ceived tens of mil­lions of dol­lars, while the com­pany got about $100 mil­lion in cash.

Watt didn’t toss out any dol­lar fig­ures in his blog post, but Pre­court paid $68 mil­lion for the Crew in 2013, a price that in­cluded the team’s sta­dium. Cur­rent MLS ex­pan­sion fees are go­ing for $150 mil­lion, likely rais­ing the value of the Crew by a sig­nif­i­cant amount.

“We have now joined the dis­cus­sion and ef­fort with the Colum­bus Part­ner­ship and city and county of­fi­cials to #SaveTheCrew,” Watt wrote. “Like most fans, we be­lieve in the power of great teams to gal­va­nize their com­mu­ni­ties. The Colum­bus Crew is an im­por­tant and long-stand­ing part of our com­mu­nity. We stand with the pas­sion­ate foot­ball (soc­cer) lovers across the world who be­lieve that the game be­longs to the fans.”

Hughes doesn’t think the city needs Watt’s money though. He is sure that if Pre­court’s endgame was to sell the fran­chise, Colum­bus has no short­age of buy­ers will­ing to take part. It’s Watt’s voice that Save the Crew needs.

“I was re­ally ex­cited,” Hughes said of Watt’s blog. “BrewDog is such a known en­tity and mas­sive thing.”

Other Save the Crew spon­sors are speak­ing up as well.

Jeni Britton Bauer, founder of Jeni’s Splen­did Ice Creams has been one of the most vo­cal. She spoke at the Save the Crew rally out­side City Hall, and she’s taken to Twit­ter to air her al­le­giance. She added that she wants ev­ery idea on the ta­ble, in­clud­ing Watt’s.

“The re­la­tion­ship be­tween sports clubs and their fans is sa­cred. It tran­scends busi­ness,” Britton Bauer said. “De­ci­sions like this shouldn’t be made with­out in­volv­ing fans and sup­port­ers. It feels like we haven’t been given a chance. No one saw it com­ing.

“I mostly speak for my­self, al­though I know that my com­pany al­ways backs pos­i­tive ef­forts to make Colum­bus stronger and bet­ter.”

Ev­ery one of Cameron Mitchell’s res­tau­rant con­cepts, from Cap City Fine Diner to the Guild House, has signed up with Save the Crew.

“The team has been play­ing soc­cer here in Colum­bus for al­most as long as Cameron Mitchell Restau­rants has been in busi­ness,” said Steve Weis, vice pres­i­dent of de­vel­op­ment for Cameron Mitchell Restau­rants. “The Colum­bus Crew is a val­ued com­mu­nity as­set. We stand be­hind the Crew sup­port­ers as they rally to keep the team in its right­ful home of Colum­bus.”

City Bar­beque has been hang­ing Save the Crew ban­ners at its restau­rants and giv­ing out bumper stick­ers. The com­pany liked what James Watt had to say.

“Well, it’s a great idea,” said Beth Berke­mer, spokes­woman for City Bar­beque. “We def­i­nitely want to keep the Crew in Colum­bus. We be­lieve the Crew should stay here in Colum­bus, it is part of our com­mu­nity.”

City Bar­beque isn’t shy about sym­bolic ges­tures ei­ther. The com­pany gave away dozens of smoked ducks for Ohio State Univer­sity’s game against the Univer­sity of Ore­gon for the 2014 col­lege foot­ball na­tional cham­pi­onship.

“What kind of mas­cots do they have in Texas that we can put on our smok­ers?” Berke­mer said.

[DIS­PATCH FILE PHOTO]

James Watt is co-founder and CEO of BrewDog, which built its U.S. head­quar­ters in Canal Winch­ester. The com­pany has used crowd­fund­ing — sell­ing parts of it­self — to raise tens of mil­lions of dol­lars and build a loyal fan base.

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