BPU votes for electric rate hike

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Utilities> Eight percent increase would cover energy costs and infrastructure replacement

By Arin McKenna

The Los Alamos Board of Public Utilities unanimously approved an ordinance which would raise electric rates by eight percent across the board. The proposed ordinance goes before council for a public hearing on Dec. 17.
The rate increase, along with a proposed six percent increase in FY2015, is designed to cover the costs of a 10-year capital improvements projects plan to replace aging infrastructure and cover rising energy prices and inflationary increases in operations and maintenance costs.
DPU had requested a 10 percent increase in 2011, but council asked the utility to revise the plan to spread the increase out over time. DPU returned with a plan for a five percent increase in 2011 and the proposed increases for FY2014 and FY2015.
Following infrastructure needs, an increased cost of power is the biggest issue. Most of the increase is due to required environmental improvements at the San Juan Generating Station.
Some of those commenting on the Open Forum mistakenly assumed the Smart Grid and the Smart Meter Project are driving the cost increase. Those projects were almost entirely paid for by Japan’s technology ministry, NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology and Development Corporation).
The proposed rate increases are:

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