City electric rates going up 3 percent |

City electric rates going up 3 percent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. – City Council gave unanimous approval Thursday evening to a 3 percent hike in city electric rates, effective July 1.

The rate increase was based on a recommendation from Glenwood Springs Public Works Director Robin Millyard. He based his decision on a recent consultant’s report that suggested the city would need to raise its electric rates 5.5 percent by 2013 in order to adjust for a likely increase in its wholesale power costs at that time.

The city’s current contract with the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) expires at the end of 2012, and will need to be renegotiated.

Recent estimates indicate that the new base wholesale power costs will be approximately $51 per megawatt hour (MWh), compared to this year’s rate of $41/MWh and the adjusted 2012 rate of $41.80/MWh.

“We will review the rate structure again next year, and will only recommend the additional 2.5 percent if we need to,” City Manager Jeff Hecksel said. “It’s possible we won’t need to.”

The rate increase is the first for city electric customers since 2007, when the rate went up 4 percent for all customer categories.

Even with the latest increase, Glenwood Springs’ municipal electric rates remain among the lowest in the state for residential customers, according to a recent rate comparison by the Colorado Association of Municipal Utilities.

The January 2011 survey found Glenwood’s current residential retail rate of $0.0781 per kilowatt hour to be the second lowest in the state for a typical single-family home.

A total of 26 municipal electric systems responded to that survey, Millyard said. There are 29 municipal electric systems in Colorado. Rate information for 22 electric cooperatives and Colorado’s primary private electric provider, Xcel Energy, is also included in that report, which will be posted to the city’s website,

“It is important for people to know that our tariff schedule is one of the lowest in the state,” Mayor Matt Steckler said. He noted that the city’s work with MEAN has also resulted in about 13 percent of the city’s electric power coming from renewable energy sources.

In other business Thursday, council appointed former city council member Shelley Kaup to fill a vacancy on the Glenwood Springs Transportation Commission.

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