Somervell County Commissioners on Monday weighed six proposals to provide the county government's electricity and awarded a more than $1 million three-year contract to First Choice.

It wasn't the lowest bid, but commissioners decided it was the best one because First Choice has contributed to the community and its local business manager, Todd Clift, lives in Clifton. First Choice bid $1,024,903.90, or a base price of 6.4 cents per kilowatt hour.

The lowest three-year contract bid came from Champion, at $997,496 or 6.05 cents, followed by Mid-American, which is owned by billionaire Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway company. Its three-year bid totaled $1,008,060.78, or $6.19 cents.

Other bids came from Hudson Energy ($1,003,467 and 6.13 cents) and Cirro ($1,056,753 and 6.8 cents). TXU, which held the previous three-year contract, turned in the highest bid of $1,053,231, or 6.78 cents per kilowatt hour.

Although First Choice came in third in the three-year contract and fourth on yearly totals, commissioners liked that they could deal with Clift directly rather than call an “800” number or go through a broker. They also wanted a simplified master bill.

County Judge Walter Maynard said that because the county includes a nuclear power plant, it has to deal with power outages within 15 minutes “or it becomes a national incident.”

“We have to have this capability of dealing directly” with an electricity provider because of emergency management requirements, Maynard said.

There's never been an incident involving significant power loss in Comanche Peak's history, Maynard added.