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City considers electric rate increase

Wholesale cost increasing

City of Powell residents and businesses may see their electric rates increase in early 2013 for the sixth consecutive year.

In response to rising wholesale costs, the Powell City Council is considering a roughly 5 percent electric increase. Councilmen have approved the proposal on two readings and will consider the third and final reading Monday night.

Beginning in January, wholesale supply costs are slated to rise 7.5 percent through the Wyoming Municipal Power Agency (WMPA), the electric provider for Powell and seven other member towns throughout the state.

The city is seeking to pass some of that increased wholesale cost on to residents and businesses.

City Administrator Zane Logan told councilmen that the 5 percent increase “is the bare minimum we can get by with.”

“We’re going to be lucky to break even,” he added.

Logan, who also serves on the WMPA board, said that the wholesale increases are related to a steep decline in the market for surplus electricity and low rates of return on investments.

“There are signs that the surplus sales market maybe improving so the hope is the future wholesale costs might stabilize,” Logan said in an email to the Tribune.

The downturn in the market has sparked continued electric rate increases since 2008. (See related table.) All of the rate hikes were directly related to increased wholesale costs.

The proposed January 2013 increase of 5 percent is significantly lower than the 15 percent hike city residents experienced in January 2012. At that time, the city was dealing with a 22 percent increase on wholesale costs.

Logan said the city has tried to keep rates as low as possible.

“With the other increases, we’re just trying to do the absolute minimum we can get by with,” he said.

For the average residence that uses 620 kilowatt hours of electricity each month, the proposed increase amounts to about $3.20 more per month.

If the council approves residential and commercial rate increases Monday night, they will take effect next month.

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4 comments

  • posted by Fedup

    December 23, 2012 9:01 am

    Really? Glad I left Powell, I cant afford the utilities + Rent these days there. City sure is proud of their serivces... Figure it out City of Powell your gonna see alot more delinquints and then go "I wonder why..." Ugh- The whole City of Powell Council/Admin/ Mayor/ Chief need to be reevaluated... and make cuts appropriatly instead of hiking rates up for the citizens when City can't handle it...So glad I dont live there anymore and I don't want to see my family suffer anymore trying to live as prices continue to be raised at a rediculous amount... Look at other cities in the state... how are they affordable and Powell isnt?

  • posted by Ice-Granny

    December 15, 2012 9:13 pm

    Yeah, sock it to us! Meanwhile - let's keep ALL the Freakin' LIGHTS ON at the new Middle School addition! We have to PAY for all THAT also! And don't forget the Downtown Tree-lights and Lame music!! (Who PICKS that Junk anyway?)

  • posted by clipstein

    December 14, 2012 10:45 pm

    mayor and crew and this paper ought to be happy over the 7 million wasted on fiber optic. how much have the city bills gone up in the last 5 years?????? 3 times what they were??????

  • posted by Disgusted taxpayer

    December 13, 2012 2:09 pm

    Kick em while they are down... it's the RINO way.

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