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Economic and dam related articles

Council to Weigh Power Rate Hike

by Vickie Aldous
Ashland Daily Tidings, October 14, 2013

Ashland City Council will decide Tuesday whether to raise electric rates by 5.3 percent.

The council will meet at 7 p.m. in the Ashland Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main St.

The average residential customer in Ashland pays $68.68 per month and would see bills rise to $72.31 if the increase is approved. The increase would go into effect Nov. 1, according to a city staff memo to councilors.

The Bonneville Power Administration, which wholesales electricity to the Ashland Electric Department, raised its rates by 6.3 percent this month, the memo said.

The Electric Department is also seeing higher costs for BPA power transmission and city conservation efforts, infrastructure spending and operations, the memo said.

If the council approves the 5.3-percent rate increase, Ashland electric customers will still pay an average of $9.87 per month less than comparable customers of Pacific Power, a major electricity supplier to Rogue Valley residents, according to city staff.

Pacific Power has filed for an 4.8-percent rate increase that would go into effect in 2014.

If Pacific Power customers are hit with that increase, the average Ashland electric customer will pay $11.40 less per month than a comparable Pacific Power customer, city staff said.

In other business on Tuesday night, council will consider whether to approve a proposal for the relatively new Options for Homeless Residents of Ashland group to partner with ACCESS Inc., a long-established social services organization, to operate a help center for people who are homeless or otherwise in need.

The center would operate either from a fixed location or out of a van.

Services could include case management, referrals, restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, backpack storage, use of a mailing address, Internet and phone access, job-related printing, and distribution of modest amounts of food, clothing, hygiene supplies, bus tokens, gas money and cold-weather gear.

The council previously authorized $100,000 split over two years to fund the help center, and asked ACCESS and OHRA to develop a joint proposal.

The proposal the groups developed would cost $153,396 over two years. They have proposed fundraising to bring in $20,000 to add to the city contribution of $100,000, but funding has not been identified to cover the remaining $33,396.

Also Tuesday night, the council will decide what colors to paint the information booth on the downtown Plaza.

The recommended color scheme is blue and creamy yellow, with accents of gray and white.

See a complete list of agenda items and details on each item.

Vickie Aldous
Council to Weigh Power Rate Hike
Ashland Daily Tidings, October 14, 2013

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