Glenwood Springs electrical rates to increase about 5%
The average homeowner in Glenwood Springs could see their electrical bill increase nearly $4 a month this year, and again in 2023, Public Works Director Matt Langhorst said.
City Council approved a 5.2% electrical rate hike Thursday during the council’s regular session.
The increase is a first in seven years for the city.
Prior to about five years ago, Langhorst said the city gave users their first 100 Kilowatt Hours (KWH) free, but the city discontinued the program in 2017, which increased users’ total bill but not the rate per KWH.
Langhorst said the city plans to raise rates by another 5.2% in 2023, but the council’s decision Thursday did not bind the city to an increase schedule after next year.
Using a baseline home of 2,000 square feet, three-car garage, swamp cooling system and forced-air furnace, Langhorst said an average residence with four residents uses about 566 KWH monthly, which he rounded up to 600 KWH for the purposes of his presentation.
Based on those numbers, an average home could see a monthly electric bill of about $74.96 under current rates. A 5.2% increase could raise the bill to about $78.29 in 2022 and about $82.36 in 2023, for a two-year total increase of about $7.40 per month, Langhorst said.
Using multiple decades of city electric fee data, Langhorst said the city could avoid spiking fee rates in the future through raising rates annually by about 2%.
Revenue gained through the increased rates could be used to maintain the city’s electrical infrastructure, build up cash reserves to a bondable amount and offset increasing transmission fees.
Council member Paula Stepp asked Langhorst if the city could put off raising rates for another six months, allowing inflation time to settle.
Langhorst said the city has been working on a pro forma for raising rates since 2019, but staff held off proposing an increase in 2020 because of the pandemic and water rate increases.
“We’ve held off on this conversation for three years,” he added.
“There’s never a great time to increase rates.”
Mayor Pro Tem Charlie Willman made a motion to approve the increase, with a second from council member Shelley Kaup. The motion passed 6-1, with council member Tony Hershey voting against.
Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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