LMUD Approves Rate Increase, But May Not be the Final One

Lassen Municipal Utility District is raising what they are charging you for your electrical use, but it may not be the final one.

The board approved a half-cent increase during last evening’s meeting, as allowed per contract without a public hearing, as the district says they are under collecting. The district has been doing so for several quarters but has chosen not to increase rates despite the steady incline in costs to purchase power.

LMUD buys from WAPA, Western Area Power Administration, a federal hydropower marketer whose power costs have increased. General manager Pat Holley shared with the board that the cause for a call to make a rate adjustment is due to a lack of rainfall in the Western U.S., reducing hydropower capacity, increased demand for power, and forced Flex Alert days. As a result, an additional four dollars will be tacked onto your December bill when the half-cent increase becomes effective, and be prepared for the potential of one more to come down the line.

Holley also shared with the directors that not only are they under-collecting by just over 2 cents before the rate adjustment, but the utility also has a deficit of over 760 thousand dollars. An additional penny is needed to cover the costs to avoid falling behind on obligations.

Director Nagel suggested holding a workshop for the board and community to digest the “numbers” and determine if now would be the right time to increase the rates just ahead of Christmas. The directors decided to sit down in mid-December to review the costs, and a public hearing on the rate increase will be held at the board’s next meeting on December 20th at 5:30.

The date for the workshop has yet to be determined but will likely be released following the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend.