BG to spread out rate increase
Written by HAROLD BROWN Sentinel City Editor
Thursday, 02 January 2014 09:50
Bowling Green City Council has agreed with the city's Board of Public Utilities on a plan to spread an electric rate increase over several years.
Council Monday night adopted a rate stabilization program with American Municipal Power Inc., of which the city is a member.
Earlier in December the BPU adopted a four-year rate adjustment, effective March 1, 2014, that will boost residential rates five percent per year. Rates will change for all other customer categories, with a slight decrease for the city's largest users, including some industrial firms and Bowling Green State University. The rates are based on a cost-of-service study conducted by Sawvel and Associates of Findlay.
Council discussed the plan for about 30 minutes Monday night with Director of Utilities Brian O'Connell.
Without the plan O'Connell said customers would be looking at a 30 percent hike in 2015, based on increased capacity costs from PJM System, a regional power distributor, and higher costs of power from several hydroelectric projects, which are coming on line.
By 2015 O'Connell said nearly 40 percent of the city's electricity will come from renewable resources. "That is probably more than nearly any other community you are going to find," he said.
Council Member Robert McOmber quizzed O'Connell about the transmission costs and said he was satisfied with the somewhat technical explanation.
Member Michael Aspacher pointed out that the city's projected rates continue to "compare favorably" with other systems operating in the area. O'Connell noted that the rate study included Ohio Power to provide a wider comparison. First Energy and Hancock-Wood Electric were also compared.
"I am very comfortable with what we are doing," Council Member Bruce Jeffers said. "Having gone through the Board of Public Utilities first and the fact that they have looked at this helps me be satisfied. I am proud of the fact we are going to more renewables and are paying a little more to reduce our carbon footprint."
• Approved the 2014 city budget, which had been reviewed extensively in early December. No changes were made to what had been discussed and introduced Dec. 16.
• Approved legislation to balance fund accounts for the end of the year.
• Approved a five-year strategic plan for the Fire Division.
• Approved an ordinance moving ahead with hiring an engineering firm to design and oversee resurfacing of West Poe Road from just west of Main Street to Mitchell Road.
• Heard Fourth Ward Council Member Robert Piasecki thank council for the opportunity to serve calling the experience "helpful and eye-opening. Bowling Green is a better city because of all of you. None of you take your responsibilities lightly and you work as a team," he said.
• Heard Council President John Zanfardino, who represents the Second Ward, indicate that although he continues on council, he does not anticipate continuing as president.