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Electric rates to rise in October

September 22, 2018

NEEDLES — The electric rates for the city of Needles are going to see a 3.2 percent cost of living (COLA) increase to take effect Oct 1.

The action item came before the city council and the Needles Public Utility Authority on Sept. 11.

“In 2016 the city conducted a rate study and it identifies that the electric rates will be adjusted annually by the CPI (consumer price index) and it specifies a particular CPI that is used by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics,” said Rick Daniels, city manager. “It indicates that costs went up 3.2 percent, so the utility board reviewed this matter and recommended that the electric rates be increased 3.2 percent. That works out to be about 92 cents a month increase plus seven cents for the non-hydro cost.

“The utility labor costs have gone up and the material and supplies prices have gone up as well,” Daniels continued. “This keeps on us on track with the cost of living.”

The basic service monthly charge, currently $28.90, rises to $29.82. Winter hydroelectric power (October through February), currently $0.0660 (414 kilowatt-hour allotment), drops to $0.0652 (406 kWh allotment); summer hydro (March through September) current $0.0629 (756 kWh allotment), goes to $0.0621 (742 kWh allotment). Over-hydro (going over the allotted kWh for summer and winter) currently $0.0844, rises to $0.0917. The California Energy Efficiency Program, currently $0.0038, falls to $0.0033.

“The city has an allotment of hydropower from the dams. It is less than half of the cost of power that the city gets from the Western Area Power Administration from non-hydro sources (coal, nuclear, and gas powered sources),” said Daniels. “Each customer gets a pro rata share (allotment) of that cheaper power. After their share of the cheaper power is consumed they shift to the higher cost power,” Daniels continued. “ The California Efficiency Program is part of the publicly owned utilities (POU) which is required to collect a public benefits charge as part of Section 385 of Locally Owned Utilities (Assembly Bill 1890). Currently, the use of the funds is for home weatherization services to low-income customers. The goal is to reduce electric loads during peak demand for low-income customers.”

The Needles Public Utility Authority approved the 3.2 COLA increase with a 6-1 vote (Councilor Clayton Hazlewood dissenting).

The city council approved the 3.2 COLA increase with a 5-1 vote (Councilor Hazlewood dissenting).

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