Electric Rates Rise to Help Water Utility

Naperville residents and commercial customers will see an 8.3% increase in their electric bill beginning as early as January 1st.

It’s an effort to offset the Naperville electric utilities $44.3 million of debt, some of which came in 2014, when they lost $3.3 million thanks to decreased revenue along with more expensive purchased power.

That caused them to take a $13.2 million loan from the water utility, who now wants that money back.

The decision to raise rates came after a 5-3 vote taken during a council budget workshop.

For some, the vote came easily, as increasing the rates would begin to stop the flow of debt and bring in an additional three million dollars in revenue for the electric department.

“We are trueing this up, just like we did with the garbage fee. Our residents didn’t know they weren’t paying the actuals, but they weren’t, and again they didn’t know that they’re not paying the actuals to pay for the service, but they haven’t been,” said Rebecca Boyd-Obarski, Councilwoman for the City of Naperville.

The 8.3% increase would equal about $8.30 cents more on monthly bills for an average resident now paying $103.75 dollars a month.

That hike will allow the water department to move forward with their own plans for $8.8 million in water infrastructure improvement projects, a move seen as necessary for councilman Krummen.

“The first thing we need to do, is we need to make water whole, they’ve got a lot of capital improvement projects that need to be done where if we don’t do them we’ll be asking residents and businesses along Ogden to take on some risks,” said John Krummen, Councilman for the City of Naperville.

Those who opposed the rate hike like Patty Gustin were concerned with the impact on residents.

“My problem is, I worry about how this is going to affect the residents, I mean I know, eight dollars, ten dollars people probably go ‘eh no big deal,’ but eight dollars, ten dollars every month for 12 months on a fixed budget is not nothing,” said Gustin.

And the increases don’t stop there. The 8.3% hike will be combined with additional increases of 0.4% to 4.4% varied between residential and commercial customers in 2017 and 2018.

This will pay back the water loan by 2018.

The city will hold it’s final budget workshop on November 23rd before official adoption of the budget in December.

Naperville News 17’s Alyssa Bochenek reports.

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