The Board of Public Utilities will hold a public hearing on a proposed restructuring of the electric rate structure as well as two rate hikes at its Oct. 15 meeting.
The Department of Public Utilities had already projected the need for a 6-percent revenue increase, which is included in the FY2014 budget. If approved, that would be implemented in January. DPU also anticipates the need for an additional five percent increase for FY2015, beginning in July.
According to Deputy Utilities Manager for Finance and Administration Robert Westervelt, three factors are driving the need for rate increases: higher power costs, the need to renovate and replace aging infrastructure and the need to replenish cash reserves.
In order to keep rates low, DPU has been using cash reserves to cover power costs that came in higher than budgeted and to fund infrastructure projects that required attention sooner than their scheduled replacement time.
In order to protect the utility from under-recovery of costs and to more accurately classify and allocate the cost of service, DPU hired Leidos to conduct a Cost of Service and Rate Design Study. The study cost $65,000.
On Wednesday, the board directed staff to return in October with an ordinance implementing Leidos’ recommendations for rate increases and restructuring.