Dip in electric rates due in April

Published on Thu, Mar 14, 2002
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Dip in electric rates due in April

Electric rates in Blaine are going down, at least for a while.
At their March 11 meeting, city council members adopted a staff recommendation to pass along an anticipated decrease in additional charges from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). Under the city’s current contract, BPA charges 46 percent over the base wholesale power price, which translates to a 20 percent rise in consumer power.

BPA will review the cost recovery adjustments in April and again in October, city manager Gary Tomsic explained. While it’s anticipated to drop to 39 percent in April, it may go up to 50 percent in October, due to a combination of load demands and financial shakiness at BPA. “It’s really something we have no control over,” Tomsic said. His question to council was whether they wanted to pass the small savings on to customers. “At community meetings we heard a concern the city would get a windfall from this kind of fluctuation,” he cautioned.

Tomsic said the decrease would be more of a token than a windfall. “There will be a savings to our customers,” he said. “We don’t know how much but it’s not going to be a lot – a few dollars a month.”

“We’d probably be quick to pass on any increase so we’d better pass the decrease on too,” said John Liebert. Council members agreed to let fluctuations in the power rate pass through to customers.

A $6,000 rebate from BPA for overcharges in late 2001 will not go back to all customers, but it will help some who can’t afford to pay their bills. “We feel the rebate should go into the fund to help people keep their power on,” Tomsic said. “It really got hit this year and it’s gotten low.”.

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