Electric rate increase on the table

The Ashland City Council will consider whether to raise electric rates by 4 percent effective Oct. 20 in response to a Bonneville Power Administration wholesale rate increase of 9.5 percent.

The council meets at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in the Ashland Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main St.

A 4 percent rate increase would be slightly down from a city staff projection made early in the year that rates might have to be increased by 6 percent. BPA's wholesale electricity increase previously was projected at 13.9 percent.

If council members decide to raise electric rates, the increases would come on top of a 10 percent water rate hike that went into effect in May and a 6 percent sewer bill increase that took effect in June.

If the council decides to blunt the impact of an electric rate increase on customers this year by raising rates by only 1 percent, that could trigger an almost 7 percent rate increase next year, followed by another rate increase of almost 7 percent the following year to make up the lost revenue.

Increasing electric rates by 4 percent this year could mean price hikes are held to less than 3 percent in 2012 and less than 3 percent in 2013, according to an analysis by the Ashland Finance Department.

For a complete list of agenda items for Tuesday's meeting, and for details on each item, visit www.ashland.or.us/Page.asp?NavID=14344.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com.

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