LA County residents to see hike in water, electric rates

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By The Staff

Los Alamos residents can expect to see a rate increase in both electric and water services, following a motion approved by the County Council at Tuesday night’s meeting.

With three of the seven councilors absent, a quorum of four consisting of Councilors Frances Berting, Ken Milder, Robert Gibson and Michael Wheeler was left to handle the heavy agenda.

Council voted 4-0 in favor of the electric and water rate hike.

According to information included in the suggested motion presented to council by the Utilities Department, electric rates were increased by 5 percent in fiscal 2008 and another 5 percent increase was scheduled for 2010.

During FY08, events and market conditions created the need to advance the planned rate increase by one year. During FY08, work was substantially complete on the environmental improvements made to San Juan unit 4.

“The electric rate increase [of 5 percent] had been planned for fiscal year 2010, but circumstances with the San Juan generating plant caused us to move that up,” said Utilities Manager John Arrowsmith. “We installed pollution control equipment as part of a consent decree from a lawsuit brought by the Sierra Club.”

The actual cost to the county for that project was approximately 20 percent or $1 million greater than the amount budgeted and borrowed.

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