That headline alone will irritate many people. Especially in these trying times in which we are living. But, there is more to the story than just the City of Brownfield raising rates.
When the City of Brownfield received their bill from Xcel Energy for power consumption, there was 1107% increase over the previous month. That is 1107% increase!
To put that into perspective, say you have a monthly car payment that is $536. Then you get a notification that you are going to have to increase that payment by 1107%. Then you total car payment for that month would be $5,933.52. Would you have the money to make that payment? Most likely the answer is no.
This is the same boat in which the City of Brownfield has found itself as we face this huge increase in their monthly bill. The City does not have the money to cover a power utility bill in excess of a million dollars for one month. If we want services to continue, we have to be able to pay the bill.
The City Council has spent much time agonizing over how to handle this increase. They are all on City utilities as well, and no one wants to see their utility bills raised. However, something had to be done.
This is why the Council voted to raise City rates temporarily by 0.0125 or just over one-cent a kilowatt hour. According to City Manager Jeff Davis, this will translate to between approximately $7 and $12 each month on individual utility bills. This amount will be shown on the bottom portion of your bill and when Xcel Energy’s bill is paid off, this will be removed from your bill.
This increase will be effective on your next billing cycle.
Lyntegar customers will likely see rate hikes as well. Lyntegar is the provider for rural electricity in our area.
Lyntegar issued the following statement:
“We know you are concerned about your electric bill. Golden Spread Electric Cooperative, our wholesale power provider, incurred high energy prices during winter storm Uri last week. While we are continuing to tally the expense and seeking all avenues of reimbursement, it is expected that our expenses will exceed the total power costs Golden Spread incurred last year.
“Golden Spread’s Board of Directors will decide how to spread these costs over time to ease the burden on you, the Member. In the meantime, the Board of Directors has frozen the energy rates Golden Spread will charge for the month of February. This means that your rates from us, your local cooperative, will not yet reflect the cost of the storm.
“If you have questions or concerns about your current electric bill, please call our office during normal business hours. Thank you for your patience and understanding.”
As we have lived through the last year, one word keep popping up. Unprecedented. The week of freezing temperatures we experienced in early March was a week of unprecedented lows. Which leads to unprecedented billing. Let’s just hope we are through with that word for a while.