RUPERT – City electricity users will see their power rates increase by four percent beginning next month.
This means that the average user will see an increase of around $4 in their power rates. The flat rate of $15 the city charges just to maintain the service remains the same. If you left in the winter, and left your power on, you would not experience a rate increase.
Tuesday night, the city council bypassed the traditional reading of the ordinance three times to create a resolution ensuring that power rates would increase in October.
“As the council knows, we buy from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) in pursuant with our contract. Our wholesale provider’s cost has gone up again. We have a rate adjustment every two years. We’re coming up on our rate adjustment,” City Administrator Kelly Anthon said.
Anthon said the good news is that the increase is less than expected.
“When talking about the budget, the estimates we received (originally) were actually higher and at a 9.2 percent energy increase and then a 13 percent increase on transmission cost,” he said, and added that when the city met with BPA officials the rates “had actually gone down. It’s a better rate than the city expected.”
Residents had some warning about the rate increase prior to the meeting, thanks to the city’s monthly newsletter.
“We have worked very hard to keep rates low. We’ve tried to inform our residents how our rates stack up in the community and in the country. We enjoy some of the lowest power rates in the United States,” he said.
Water rates will increase as well, but only for those who use an excessive amount of water.
“For high usage, it will be about a two percent increase. What’s favorable about it is that it affects people who use more,” he said.
Sanitation rates will also increase, but only by 25 cents. Currently rates are $17.75 and in October will increase to $18.
“One of the things I would just note is that the city has moved to our own cart system. It will be a cost savings to our residents. Under our previous policy and code, residents are required to pay for trash cans. Going over to the cart system will be a cost savings for residents,” Anthon said.
It’s expected that by next year all residents will rely on city-owned trash receptacles. The city meets again at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 16, at city hall. The meeting is open to the public. For more information call 436-9600.