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Cold temperatures will mean higher power rates for local customers

Skaneateles officials discuss rate increase

While a snowy winter means more time and money is spent clearing the roads, an especially cold winter will have a significant impact on home power bills.

Local officials discussed an anticipated rate increase on upcoming power bills at the Feb. 12 village board meeting.

Director of Municipal Operations Bob Lotkowictz reported that he expects a 2 cent increase in cost per kilowatt hour for village residents for February bills. The average rate for the village is $0.046 per kilowatt hour.

The increase is caused by an increase in demand for electricity and natural gas, not only in Skaneateles, but across the state, he said.

“A lot of people are using a lot of electricity,” Lotkowictz said.

Living in a municipal power grid, Skaneateles residents typically pay low rates, because the state gives the village an allotment of inexpensive hydroelectric power from Niagara Falls. However, when the village exceeds that allotment, it must use regular “purchase power,” which is more costly, especially in the winter.

The cold this winter has caused a new state record for peaking load for electricity. The weather coupled with increasing natural gas prices have created near all-time high electricity prices this year, according to a letter to the village from the New York Municipal Power Agency.

Natural gas is what powers most of the purchase power generators in New York, thus raising rates for customers state-wide, including local people who live outside of the village and are customers of National Grid.

The good news is that once the temperatures rise again, the demand will go down and power rates are expected to return to normal, Lotkowictz said.

In other business:

--Mayor Marty Hubbard noted that the village received a low score on a recent report from New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. “I’m very happy to see the village scored very low, which is good,” Hubbard said.

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Comments

if 7 months ago

Joe you need to ask about the impact of the YMCA connecting to Village Electric resulting in more kw being purchased from National Grid at a substantially higher rate than the hydropower. The increase in the rate for Village residents is proportionate to the increase consumption by the Village customers - now including the YMCA. Prior to the YMCA coming on to Village Electric the hydropower only covered 92% of the electric demand so the Village had to buy the remaining 8% from National Grid. The National Grid bill for that 8% made up 40% of the cost of electricity due to the substantially higher rate for National Grid electricity over hydropower electricity. Now with the YMCA on line and the largest electric customer in the Village the result is the Village has to purchase even more electricity from National Grid and pass along the increase in a rate increase to all customers. What should have been done is the YMCA should have been given an electrical rate which would have covered this increase. Instead our Village leaders in the dark of night pulled this stunt knowing that Village Electric customers are now subsidizing the YMCA. The Y is saving more than $100,000 per year with the new rate. Who do you think is paying for this? Now the real question is are our reporters going to ask the question. We will have to wait and see.

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BoheaTea 6 months, 1 week ago

I just looked at my electric bill. "Power Adjustment" cost went up %500 since the YMCA came on to the Village Electric. Will someone please look into what is going on. I am on a fixed income and my electric bill doubled. I called National Grid and they said they avoided increases due to cold weather as they bought their power in advance and locked in a low rate so they protected us from the increases due to colder winter. Are they lying? Charlie Blackwell told me this increase is because with the Y on the Village the result is the Village has to buy more expensive electricity as we now don't have enough cheap hydropower to supply the demand of the Y and we are all now having to pay more to cover this.

Will someone get the facts please? If Charlie is right why didn't we have the existing Village customers like me stay at our lower rates instead of having to subsidize the Y? Maybe it is time to move.

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BoheaTea 6 months ago

Joe I beg of you read the Village Municipal Board meeting minutes from September 19, 2011. PLEASE<PLEASE<PLEASE.

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