In a recent city newsletter (not yet available on the city’s website), a sunny article included the intent of pursuing yet another 10 percent increase in power rates. The city takes the money from the rate increase to maintain an approximate $2.2 million transfer to the general fund (not the power department).
I’ve been watching the city use it’s power company to raise rates for years now and, thus, avoid truth-in-taxation hearings. This announcement comes almost exactly one year from the last one and close to two years from raising the “customer charge” 250%. Bountiful rates and customer charges have remained consistently higher than Rocky Mountain Power.
Comparison and Number Crunching
Let’s compare Bountiful Power and Light’s rates (a municipal company exempt from State/Fed tax* and Public Service Commission oversight) to those of Rocky Mountain Power (a private company subject to taxes, oversight, and shareholder requirements):
Bountiful currently charges a flat fee of 8.81¢/kWh (kilowatt hour). After the increase, it becomes 9.691¢/kWh. Bountiful charges a $4 customer fee.
Rocky Mountain Power is a bit trickier. It’s rates change during the summer (high demand) vs winter months:
May-September: Tiered rate of $7.5292¢/kWh first 400 kWh, 8.9416¢/kWh next 600 kWh, and 11.1216¢ per kWh all additional kWh. I figure most residences use less than 800 kWh and that would average out to about 8.2354¢/kWh (Averaged 800kWh = (7.5292+8.9416)/2 = 8.2354).
October-April: Flat rate of 7.8009¢ per kWh.
Let’s weight those results for the average kWh charge. ((8.2354*5 months)+(7.8009*7 months))/12 = 7.9812¢ per kWh.
Rocky Mountain Power charges a $3 customer fee (recently raised from $2).
It appears Bountiful remains significantly more expensive for the average homeowner than the Rocky Mountain Power. Right now, Bountiful residents pay over 10% more for their power and 33% more on their customer charge. Additionally, over the last two years, the city has raised your power bills (based on 600kWh use) by roughly $144/year (includes customer charge increase). That comes out to $1.92 Million/year for the city (using 2000 Census figures for Bountiful households – 13,341*144) which is…about the amount transferred into the general fund**.
All this to maintain the transfer to the city’s general fund (conveniently avoiding truth-in-taxation hearings) with the added bonus of falsely claiming lower taxes while citizens and businesses are tightening their belts.
**Note: the $1.92 Million figure does not include businesses which I believe also had their rates raised. The figure is probably larger.