Possible Rate Increase Coming in October for LP&L Customers

Published 06/17 2014 09:39PM

Updated 06/17 2014 10:17PM

By Monica Yantosh

LUBBOCK, TX -- After a vote to approve the budget for the upcoming year, the Electric Utility Board passed to the Lubbock City Council a possible 5.75% rate increase for LP&L customers.

In June 2013, a rate increase went into effect at the same time that summer rates began, which left many people with high bills.

This year, Matt Rose, an LP&L spokesman, said the rate increase is smaller and more incremental.

"The board has a rate methodology, which is small, incremental rate increases, on a regular basis," Rose said. 

According to Rose, after a study was done on their rates last year, the group that did the study recommended a larger rate increase across the board.  The proposed rate increase this year is instead only on the base rate and is a 5.75% increase.

"They're not going to delay the hard decisions so that we get into a situation like we were last year where we have to have a one time large increase," Rose said of the Electric Utility Board.

City leaders said in the past that LP&L went years without a rate increase before the rate hike in 2013.

To give customers an idea of what this 5.75% base rate increase means, Rose said to look at an average customer who uses 1,000 kWh/month.  He said this would be about an additional $1.66 in the non-summer months, and about $2.24 in the summer months.

Rose also said the rate increase could have been higher, though LP&L staff worked to cut in other areas to keep the increase lower on customers.

"We've implemented over a million dollars in cost savings to try to bring back down that rate increase, but the fact of the matter is, we have areas of capital improvement that we have to address," Rose said.

Those capital improvements are to help with the growing needs of a growing city, Rose said.

"The reason that it was necessary to have this rate increase at this point in time is because we need to repair an aging line, that services Texas Tech Medical Center, UMC, and Covenant Hospital," Rose said. "We need to do improvements on the Milwaukee corridor, where all the growth is going in on the southwest side of town, and we also are beginning the stages of a loop that will go around the city to improve reliability."

The LP&L budget, which includes this rate increase, needs to be approved by the Lubbock City Council and this new rate would go into effect on October 1st.

At Tuesday's Electric Utility Board meeting, the new website and new bill designs were also shown. The new website is now up and running and new bills should begin to go out in the next week.

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