At its June board meeting, Central Lincoln’s Board of Directors voted to approve new rate schedules that will increase the average customer bill by about 7%. The changes are effective July 1, meaning the bills customers receive in August will reflect the changes.
During deliberations, Board members discussed several factors in their decision making:
- Central Lincoln’s largest cost (60%) is power purchased from BPA. Including an anticipated increase of 6.7% this coming October 1, BPA will have raised its rates 28.7% since 2010.
- This year’s increase will result in the average Central Lincoln residential customer’s bill going up an estimated $5.90 a month. That includes an increase in the Facilities Charge (formerly known as the Basic Charge) from $18 per month to $20 per month. The Facilities Charge helps to pay the costs of providing infrastructure (lines, transformers, utility poles, substations, etc.) to customers’ properties— the actual cost is higher than $20 per customer per month.
- Even with this rate increase, Central Lincoln’s average residential bills will be in the lower third for Oregon.
- During this most recent recession, Central Lincoln’s board kept rates low, recognizing many customers were struggling financially. However, this reduced the utility’s reserve funds to a level lower than recommended by financial experts.
- Central Lincoln has worked to reduce costs wherever possible, including staffing reduction through attrition, and closing satellite customer service offices. Additional cost-cutting, such as helping customers switch to paperless billing is a priority going forward.