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Village of Skaneateles corrects billing errors; announces more detailed utility bills

Village officials took time to address recent emails, letters and calls expressing concerns about electric bills, at the April 10 Village Board meeting.

Director of Municipal Operations Bob Lotkowictz gave a presentation noting an error in some recent bills, explaining changes to future utility bills and explaining the village’s tariff system for electricity.

For November through March, commercial electric customers have been under-billed by at most $9.08 per month. Due to an issue with the new billing system software, which was installed in July 2013, those customers were billed at the wrong rate. The problem has been corrected and new bills will be sent, Lotkowictz said.

Residential utility bills, though correct, will be made more detailed in the future to reflect the village’s tiered-usage rates.

The village has three classifications for power customers: residential, commercial and industrial or demand customers. The definition of those classifications and the rate associated with each are called the tariff and is approved by the state Public Service Commission, Lotkowictz said.

Residential customers pay a minimum monthly charge of $3.25. The residential rate is set at $0.0340 per kilowatt hour (kWh), however during the winter months (November through April) they are charged $0.0504 per kWh for all usage that exceeds 750 kWh.

In the future, bills will reflect how much power a customer used and what rate they paid, including the second rate if consumption exceeds 750 kWh during the winter, Lotkowictz said.

With the new bills, residents will be able to double check the rates and math to make sure they are correct, Trustee Sue Jones said.

“It’s very important, I think, that when a resident gets a bill that they can go down and across and follow the way we get to the numbers,” Jones said.

Power bills also contain a line labeled “Power Adjustment.” Power adjustment is a charge distributed among the ratepayers, based on their usage, that covers the additional expenses the village has for purchase power when village-wide demand exceeds its hydroelectric power allocation. It also pays for transmission charges and other fees incurred when the village has to purchase power from the New York Municipal Power Authority or National Grid.

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Comments

BoheaTea 5 months, 1 week ago

Bob your logic is illogical. More users like YMCA results in more purchasing of higher priced power which is paid for by all users. Simple.

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if 5 months, 1 week ago

My electric bill for March was incorrect. I was overbilled and discovered this as the math did not add up on the bill. The "billing software" understated my electric rate. I discovered this by multiplying the electric rate times my kwh usage. I was given a false and understated electric rate. Your article suggests I was underbilled when in fact I was overcharged and have serious questions as to how "billing software" will allow such a simple math error.

I am not sure what Sue Jones is seeing on her bill. My electric bill clearly shows the data - it is not a question of being able to "follow the way we get to the numbers". What is needed is for Bob, who is compensated by over $150,000 per year to take an hour a month and review a few random bills to ensure the "billing software" is functioning properly.

Joe have you looked at anyone's March bill?

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if 5 months ago

Joe have you read the Municipal Board meeting minutes from meetings held this year? I don't see any discussion or vote regarding the Electric Enterprise Budget? Would you look into this?

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if 5 months ago

Here is the spending trend for the Skaneateles Electric "Enterprise":

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by if

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SkanLaker 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Thank you to "if" for posting graph. This type of format is easy to understand and simple. This graph should be in the paper.

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