|Citizens question BG's electric rate increase, source of power supply|
|Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff|
|Thursday, 06 February 2014 09:18|
Several Bowling Green citizens questioned city council Monday night about electric rate increases and the city's decision to rely on the Prairie States coal-fired plant for about 50 percent of the city's power supply.
Each provided council with a list of questions and stated their concerns. Some questions were answered and others were referred to the city's director of utilities.
The city's Board of Public Utilities approved a new rate schedule late in 2013, which will be effective March 1. Rates are scheduled to increase an average of 5 percent March 1 and increase by a similar amount on March 1, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
The speakers said they were concerned that the cost of power from the Prairie States plant was not mentioned in a letter sent to customers announcing the rate increase.
Director of Utilities Brian O'Connell said Prairie States was not mentioned because the increases were the result of a new capacity charge for transmission of power and the approaching completion of several hydroelectric power sources that will carry a higher power cost. He said when the hydro projects are online, the city will get about 37 percent of its power from renewable resources.
O'Connell did say the cost of power from the Prairie States is higher than projected when the city signed on as it was being proposed and built. He admitted the plant has gone through some shakedown issues as it was put into service.
Some of the speakers mentioned concerns about coal plant emissions and also effects of a federal investigation involving the plant developer, Peabody Energy and American Municipal Power.
Council suggested the citizens attend a BPU meeting with the questions, but one said the group thought council was a better forum because the meetings are taped and broadcast, while BPU meetings are not.
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