Electric Rate Hike Coming to Naperville

Naperville residents will pay at least six percent more on their electric bill starting in January.

This will be done through an increased monthly base fee from $11.10 to $12.60 and an increase in rates.

The hike will help cover the $3.3 million the electric utility lost last fiscal year, build their reserves to about $13 million and cover a $13.2 million loan taken from the water utility.

Several options from a rate study were on the table at a recent city council workshop as to how to fill the gaps. Two options got the most attention from council.

Option five would add a six percent rate increase beginning in 2016, followed by three percent increases in the next two years, but wouldn’t begin to pay back the water loan until 2017.

“Option number five I’m comfortable with, although it does pay the water bill back in a less timely manner, but I would hope that there would be some creativity within the staff level to kind of figure out, ‘well if we don’t spend money here, we might be able to pay the water back a little sooner,’” said Councilwoman Patricia Gustin.

Other council members, like John Krummen, thought it would be better to act quickly through a different option: number eight, which would pay back the water loan starting as soon as 2016. That plan would add a slightly higher rate increase at 6.3 percent next year, and include the three percent increases in 2017 and 2018.

“There’s a log jam that’s starting to happen and it’s just going to get more and more expensive as that log jam gets more and more jammed, so even though I came in thinking number five was the better option, I’m thinking number eight might be best, just to unjam the log jam,” said Councilman John Krummen.

But Councilman Kevin Coyne suggested another plan that would immediately address the $3 million in loan payments due to the water utility in 2016.

“Why don’t we have an alternative that proposes an increase like along what you have, but were simply using that higher rate to pay down the water loan directly rather than issue more debt?” said Coyne.

Under any option, a purchased power adjustment plan would be in place that would help keep consumers’ monthly costs stabilized based on the costs of providing electricity.

Naperville News 17’s Alyssa Bochenek reports.

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