Aldermen agree on electric rate increase proposal

The cost of keeping the lights on is going up in one local community.

Thursday, Metropolis city leaders decided on a plan that will raise the rates that customers pay for electricity.

The increase will be spread out over the course of three years. In 2015, electric rates will increase at $.018 per kilowatt hour, allowing the city to break even. In 2016, the city will be adding more money back into their accounts by charging $.01 more. In 2017, the price of electricity goes up $.005. That works out to about a $16 increase on a $100 bill.

“The gambling revenue has been so bad that we’ve been funding that out of the general fund, and it’s just to a point where you can no longer do that,” said Mayor Billy McDaniel.

Decreasing revenues, two ice storms, and a flood have put a strain on the city’s electric infrastructure that city corporate council Rick Abell says will now be built back up.

“On an annual basis we would break even,” said Rick Abell. “The other half will go towards establishing a maintenance fund which will take care of if a bucket truck breaks down, or if a transformer goes down in one of these big sub stations.”

City leaders feel that the $.03 electric increase puts customers in familiar territory.

“The customer could figure that the bill he had in 2012 is going to be pretty close to the bill he’d have in 2017,” said Abell.

The increase also maintains the affordability that city leaders say makes Metropolis attractive.

“Even with these raises we’re cheaper than the co-op, and we’re cheaper than Ameren, and those are the primary electric suppliers around us,” said Abell.

The Metropolis Board of Aldermen will meet on January 26th to make a final decision on implementing the electric rate increases.

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