Saturday, an electricity rate increase went into effect for Lubbock Power and Light customers. For customers using 1000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month, this rate increase means a hike in prices of $1.86 during the non-summer months and $2.51 during the summer months, LP&L said in a release.
Lubbock City Council member Jeff Griffith explained that rate increases like this start on October 1 because it’s the start of the fiscal year.
The LP&L base adjustment rate is designed to avoid making the rate increase an “unpleasant surprise.”
LP& L explained that the rate increases are planned to support improvements to LP&L operations and infrastructure.
The rate increase is 5.75 percent of the base rate on electricity. It was approved by city leaders back in June.
For Lubbock citizens who struggle to make ends meet, a price increase like this can have an impact on their bill paying, said Joy Loper, Program Director with the Neighborhood House. The Neighborhood House provides emergency assistance to Lubbock residents, offering services such as help paying utility bills.
“We’ve been getting many requests since the beginning of the year [ for help with utilities], but that may change as that increase starts to show up on their bills,” Loper said.
The Neighborhood House primarily works with low income individuals, Loper explained, with some of her clients living below 50% of the federal poverty line.
“So any kind of increase is going to impact them,” she said.
Since Saturday’s rate increase, Loper hasn’t seen a corresponding increase in her people asking the Neighborhood House for help with utility bills. But she wouldn’t be surprised to start seeing more people asking for help as a result of this increase.
For organizations like the Neighborhood House, fall can be an especially difficult time for clients who are in need of help because annual funds start to run dry. Loper explained that at the Neighborhood House, they will have to use their funds for the rest of the year sparingly.
While organizations like Neighborhood House try to stretch out their funds for the rest of the year, they’re hoping people who need assistance with their bills ask for help quickly.
“Too many times, they’ll just– like a couple of clients that came in this afternoon– we haven’t helped them this year and there’s an application process that has to be dealt with,” Loper explained that these clients often come in saying they are about to be disconnected from their power that day. At that point it is too late for her organization to intervene to reverse the situation.
She encourages people who need help paying their bills to contact the Neighborhood House, and if they don’t have the resources to help, they will point you to another organization that does. You can reach Neighborhood House at 806-741-0459.