Electric rates may go up in Bainbridge

Friday, August 10, 2007

Proposed electric rate increases in Bainbridge could go into effect by Nov. 1. Town Council members Mike Smith and Richard Cope reviewed a draft ordinance for electric utility rates to increase at Wednesday night's town council meeting. A public hearing has been set for Thursday, Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. for the first reading of the ordinance.

The town's electric utility has rate not been raised for 20 years and is the lowest in the state of Indiana.

"When coal and oil places went up, companies had long term contracts which weren't affected for a while. Now they are hitting us. Bainbridge has the lowest electric rate in state," reported Jim Nelson utility supervisor.

From 2004-2006 the citys'rates went from $221,000 to $299,000. The Indiana Municipal Power Agency (IMPA) did a small rate study in Bainbridge in 2002. At that time they recommended raising rates. It wasn't done because the town still had a cash reserve.

In 2004-2005-2006 rates went up $70,000. The city took in the same amount in 2006 as it did in 2004 because of rising fuel costs.

"We're just barely covering the cost of purchased power, let alone paying all expenses," commented Town Clerk Jason Hartman. "The city has absorbed the excess cost from the reserve fund but it's getting low."

The suggested rate will be 18.5 cents for the first 25 kilowatt hours, the next 75 kwh for 10.3 cents. The next 100 kwh would be 8.8 cents and more than 200 kwh is 7.2 cents. The minimum monthly charge for 1 to 10 kwh will be $198. They will also apply quarterly rate adjustments to the rates equivalent to the increases or decreases established by the IMPA using its Economic Cost Adjustment factors.

The town's rates even with the increase will still be less expensive than any other city or town in the area.

Smith commented that "people with electric heat will probably see the biggest increase but gas has already seen an increase. This sort of evens it out."

The Public hearing for the first reading will be at 7 p.m. in the Bainbridge Town Hall on August 29.

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