Water Rate to Rise 6.2%, Power 8.5%by Hannah Hoffman
News Register, April 22, 2010
McMinnville residents will see their water rates rise May 1 - and will likely see their electric rates follow July 1 - based on action taken during Tuesday night's meeting of the McMinnville Water & Light Commission.
The commission convened a public hearing on a trio of 6.2 percent water rate hikes planned the next three years. When no testimony was offered, it proceeded to adopt the package, the first element of which goes into effect May 1.
The commission then scheduled a public hearing on a proposed 8.5 percent residential, commercial and industrial electric rate hike for 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 18, in the conference room at the utility's Marsh Lane headquarters. That increase is slated to take effect July 1.
Together, the two rate hikes promise to bump local utility bills significantly. And with additional rate increases looming the next two years, that's not going to be the end of it.
The average residential customer uses 1,117 cubic feet a month, currently costing $24.01. The rate hike will take that to $25.50, an increase of $1.49.
The increase will run slightly more each of the next two years due to compounding.
Commercial and industrial customers face a like series of increases. However, the commission voted against also increasing the systems development charge it assesses on new construction.
The increases are designed to repay a $12 million loan from the electric side extended to cover some of the costs associated with a major water treatment plant upgrade now nearing completion.
The rate hike on the electric side is designed to cover an 8 percent increase in the Bonneville Power Administration's wholesale rate, enacted in October. It would be the first increase Water & Light has exacted on local customers since September 2002 - almost eight years ago.
The average residential customer uses 1,230 kilowatt-hours a month, currently costing $55.02. The rate hike would take that to $59.70, an increase of $4.68.
However, Water & Light electric rates will remain some of the lowest in the United States.
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