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BPU Eyes Case For Future Rate Increase

The good news is Jamestown Board of Public Utilities electric rates won’t increase in 2020.

The bad news is rates might increase in 2021 or 2022.

On Wednesday, the BPU held its regular monthly meeting, with one of the topics of discussion being the proposed 2020 electric division budget. Kelly Hawkins, BPU finance and customer accounts manager, presented the draft budget to the board and said rates will not increase next year. However, there is a 2.5% placeholder for a rate increase in the 2021.

Hawkins said because of growing expenses for the electric division, rates will need to increase.

She said there is pressure from New York state, which is raising the costs of the division.

“We’re feeling the pressure from that,” she said.

David Leathers, BPU general manager, said either during 2020 or the first quarter of 2021, the BPU staff and board will need to apply for a minor rate case with the Public Service Commission. He said the last minor rate case increase happened in 2016 when the charge for customers increased by 1.69%. In recent years, Leathers said the average annual electric rate increase has been around 0.5%. The board is scheduled to vote on the final 2020 electric division budget during its monthly meeting Monday, Dec. 23.

In other BPU business, the board approved the water division budget for next year. Leathers said there is no proposed rate increase in the 2020 water division budget. He said 2020 will be the third consecutive year with no rate hike for the water division.

“This speaks highly of the staff and the work being done,” said Sam Teresi, Jamestown mayor.

The board also approved the wastewater division budget, which also had no rate increase for next year. Leathers said there has only been one rate increase in the last 11 years in the wastewater division.

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