Decision on raising electric rates delayed
Although Marion’s city council, like Hillsboro’s, felt sticker shock when they read the February electric bill from Kansas Power Pool, they are likewise postponing a decision on passing along a price increase to customers.
At Monday’s city council meeting, council members unanimously approved using utility cash reserves to offset additional wholesale energy costs for the months of February, March, and April.
A proposed ordinance amending a fuel adjustment charge clause to include actual surcharge expenses assessed by KPP after February’s cold snap failed on a 2-2 tie vote. Mayor David Mayfield and councilman Chris Costello voted in favor of the proposed amendment and councilmen Ruth Herbel and Jerry Kline voted against the amendment.
The proposed amendment did not specify the dollar amount of the 1 cent per kWh surcharge, nor did it change the base rate of electrical service. It also did not contain a specific date when the surcharge would end.
City clerk Tiffany Jeffrey read a statement to the council saying KPP’s surcharge for its high operating costs during the cold weather is 1 cent per kWh.
“The surcharge collection shall end when the surcharge assessment from (KPP) has satisfied the requirements of the repayment plan authorized by the board of the Kansas Power Pool on March 18, 2021,” the proposed amendment reads.
The statement said the mean average increase for residential customers would be $6.08 a month during low usage times and $11.90 a month for high usage times. For commercial customers, the mean average increase would be $25.14 during low usage times and $34.74 during high usage times.
Council members will revisit the proposed amendment at the April 5 meeting.
City council members on March 8 gave city administrator Roger Holter consent to apply for a state loan of up to $561,000 to help with electricity costs. Herbel said the city did not apply for the loan.
Hillsboro city council at last week’s meeting discussed passing along a 1 cent surcharge to customers to offset higher charges from KPP, but did not have an ordinance ready to pass. They will discuss the matter again at their April 6 meeting.