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Waynesville faced with 13.04 percent electric rate hike
WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (Nov. 13, 2008) — While much of Wednesday afternoon’s meeting of the Waynesville Utility Committee focused on an ongoing lawsuit with the Pulaski County Sewer District, other items did some up for discussion including an electric rate increase of 13.04 percent being charged to Waynesville by its power supplier.

City Administrator Bruce Harrill presented four options to handle the rate increase in a memo which noted that the city’s current pricing structure doesn’t encourage electricity conservation.

Waynesville officials have been told by the Sho-Me Electric power supply company that their 13.04 percent rate increase will be lower than others in Missouri and nationwide, Harrill said. That happened because Waynesville’s energy use is more efficient than that of many other cities, he said.

“However, in the future, to maintain our low electric rates, we need to consider adjusting our rate structure in line with Sho-Me Power’s rate structure,” Harrill wrote. “The current rate structure of the city does not encourage the conservation of energy, because as a customer uses more electricity their electric rate per (kilowatt hour) decreases. This rate structure is in direct conflict with the new rate structure from Sho-Me Electric which encourages conservation of electricity as the higher users have a higher electric rate.”

In previous presentations, representatives of the city’s wholesale power supplier have argued that high-demand users should pay the primary burden for the cost of building new power plants that are made necessary by their higher consumption rates, rather than charging the cost to all users of the system.

Harrill recommended encouraging conservation “by reducing our eliminating our rate discount to high energy users.” However, the committee members leaned toward one of four plans presented that would institute an across-the-board rate increase of 12 to 12.5 percent, one which would “evenly impact high usage customers and low usage customers.”

Waynesville currently charges residential customers a minimum rate of $10 for the first 50 KWH, then 16 cents per KWH for the next 50 KWH, then 7.5 cents per KWH for the next 900 KWH, and 6.3 cents per KWH for usage over 1,000 KWH. Those rates would increase to $10, 18 cents, 8.4 cents and 7.1 cents under the across-the-board plan.

Harrill also presented three other options, each of which would increase rates less for smaller users and more for major users. Option two would raise the minimum rate by 5 percent to $10.50, and have rate tiers of 18.5 cents, 8.4 cents and 7.2 cents. Option three would keep a $10 minimum charge and bill users a flat rate of 8 cents per KWH for all usage. Option four would establish a $12.50 minimum charge and bill users 10 cents for usage under 150 KW and 7.5 cents for usage over 150 KWH.

“We discussed various options — option 1 is being considered, but not necessarily recommended to the city,” Harrill said. “We don’t have to do anything until April so we have time to research it.”

Other utilities came up for some discussion as well.

Water Supt: Danny Graves said some major expenses are expected on the sewer treatment plant screw pump and generator, but should be less than $50,000.

“You don’t find parts off the shelf; they have to be manufactured,” Graves said. “When you place an order they start manufacturing them.”

Electric Superintendent Gary Wann said city workers are staying busy and have “a lot of new services to get in” before winter makes construction work more difficult.

Wann said there are problems with several older city electrical lines that may require taking parts of the city power grid offline to do repair work.

“We want to catch these before it gets too cold and then we’ll have an outage, more than likely,” Wann said.

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