On Tuesday, The Los Alamos County Council unanimously approved an ordinance that will raise electric rates by eight percent across the board. The Department of Public Utilities is also projecting the need for an additional six percent increase for FY2015.
The increase will raise the average residential customer’s rates approximately $4.28 per month. The last increase of 5 percent was approved in January 2011.
Current rates are approximately 77 percent of those charged by surrounding counties. The eight percent increase will put Los Alamos at 82.9 percent of those rates, and the proposed FY2015 increase would raise that to 87.8 percent.
DPU Manager John Arrowsmith explained some of the factors necessitating the hike, addressing a question Councilor Kristin Henderson had raised about why the rate hikes had not occurred earlier or more gradually.
“The utilities department has been preparing a 10-year financial forecast and presenting it in conjunction with the budget for about 15 years. And in that 10-year financial forecast we have projected rate increases that will be needed,” Arrowsmith said. “Every year that financial forecast is updated, based the most current information, and that information can change a lot.”