Chair of the Electric Utility Board, Gail Kring held a news conference Friday morning to address all of the issues regarding the recent rate and fuel increase.
"We will continue to address your concerns and we will take your concerns back to our board, they will have concerns and we will look for solutions," Kring said Friday.
Kring said there are three main things he wanted the public to know. The first is that LP&L will be collecting at least a portion of the money that was not collected in June starting on October 1st. The second is to let people know there is a team of customer service representatives that are dedicated to solely answering questions on the rate issues. The third item is that there will be public comments added to the beginning of every Electric Utility Board regular meeting.
Kring said the fuel rate will decrease just for August, and that any other reductions to that fuel rate will have to be discussed, and approved by the EUB. Kring also said the rate increase was necessary. The consultant hired by LP&L said the increase needed to be done by October, but LP&L chose to do it sooner.
"He (the consultant) said it wouldn't make a difference to do it now or then, and the board chose to do it now," Kring said. He also said they may not have communicated the changes efficiently to customers. "We lowered the base rate and then put the fuel cost pass through in and you're probably right, we didn't do a good job of explaining that and hopefully in the future we'll do a better job," Kring said.
Mayor Glen Robertson and Councilman Victor Hernandez also spoke on the matter.
"This was an absolutely horrific rise in people's bills," Mayor Robertson said. He believes the biggest shock to the public was that fuel cost increase, and is just one area that needs more answers.
"We were told, we were lead to believe that this was going to effect the average homeowner $7 to $10 a month, and then the fuel cost hit everybody," Mayor Robertson said. "And for whatever reason, we've been under-collecting fuel cost for years."
LP&L boasts they have some of the lowest rates in the state, although after the most recent increase, that may be up for debate.
"To the rest of the state, we are still below the state average, Kring said.
"We are actually not in the lower tier of rates anymore," Mayor Robertson said. "As of June, we are now above the state average, we're not that much above."
To Robertson, the key now is to work on moving forward. "We've gotta get away from this combative attitude, we've gotta find a way to come together and find solutions," Robertson said.
Mayor Robertson said the City Council and the Electric Utility Board will be holding a meeting, open to the public, where all of these matters can be discussed and they can work toward a resolution.
The meeting will be Tuesday, July 30th at 6 p.m. at City Hall.