I am not as funny as Ray Lytle but the Springfield City Council was on a roll with CWLP last night when they tried to ask for a WHOPPING 9.3% increase in the rates they charge their electric customers. First they blamed the spot market, then they blamed the EPA’s new regulations, then they blamed the increase in the price of coal and finally they blamed the bond markets. They never explained why they borrowed 6,000,000 $$$ from the water fund.
Council rebuffs CWLP rate hike, seeks alternatives
Springfield aldermen Tuesday rejected the idea of a 9.5 percent electric rate increase and directed City Water, Light and Power officials to come up with alternative plans.
Eric Hobbie, the utility’s chief engineer, told reporters after the meeting that the possibilities are limited and might mean “substantial changes to the way we do business.” He declined to elaborate on what those changes could be.
CWLP officials and Mayor Mike Houston have said a rate increase is needed to give CWLP a sufficient revenue cushion to repay its bonds and maintain the utility’s bond rating.
The immediate rate hike would raise $19.1 million annually, Additional, smaller rate hikes also are being sought in future years.
However, no city council member even moved Tuesday to put the matter on next week’s city council debate agenda.
Several aldermen said they are concerned about hiking electric rates.
“We can’t do that to the citizens today,” Ward 1 Ald. Frank Edwards said. “We need to find some different means, some different alternative. … There’s a lot of people really hurting out there.”
Ward 3 Ald. Doris Turner agreed.
“I just cannot in clear conscience vote for a 10 percent increase,” she said. “I just think that is just too much to put on the ratepayers.”
“There’s got to be a better way,” Ward 4 Ald. Frank Lesko said.
Utility officials say CWLP’s revenue problems began in the fall of 2008, when the economy collapsed and energy prices dropped. Prices for power CWLP sells on the wholesale market have continued to decline ever since, and the utility’s wholesale revenues are $20.5 million below budget, officials say.
Really funny guys. Go there and read the rest. More tomorrow.