The rate hike will add approximately $3.13 per month to the average residential customer’s electric bill.
The average residential customer bill is about $65.34 a month, BLP Controller Kristin Kratt said.
With several years of budget reductions and capital project deferrals, BLP officials said the utility is forced to raise rates to ensure system reliability.
“At some point, you have to swallow hard and make the right decision today to ensure reliability in the future,” General Manager Annette Allen said.
“As the elected officials of this utility, we have a fiduciary responsibility to protect our community’s assets,” said the utility board's chairman, Jack Smant. “We continue to absorb as much of the economic impact as possible while assuring that we can appropriately maintain the system.”
Allen said the board made budget reductions totaling $2.2 million for fiscal year 2012-13. The rate hike will contribute $1.5 million in revenue to the utility, making up for just some of the reductions.
BLP officials say they are hoping the economy improves so new customers and additional revenue is brought in, and they say there are some preliminary signs for it.
“Even this year, we’ve seen some small increases in our large customers,” Allen said.
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