Niles city to raise utility rates

Published 9:37 am Monday, July 27, 2015

Niles utilities customers can expect to see another rate increase across the board, just months after the last increase.

According to a report given to members of the Niles City Council, the average residential customer’s monthly bill will:

• Increase $2.55 for electric (700 kilowatt hours a month)

• Increase $2.59 for water

• Increase $2.25 for sewer

The council will vote on whether or not to approve the rate changes at today’s regular meeting, which begins at 6 p.m.

If approved, the new rates will take effect Oct. 1.

Jeff Dunlap, the city’s director of utilities, said the adjustments are necessary due to declining sales, operating and maintenance costs, needed capital improvements and debt obligations.

The suggested increases to rates — 3.2 percent for electric, 10 percent for water and 10 percent for sewer — were determined by financial projections and cost of service studies performed by specialized rate consultants.

“ Many factors go into these studies including, revenue requirements now, and in the future; the utilities ability to meet debt coverage ratios, minimum cash reserves, and net income targets,” Dunlap said. “Needed capital improvements are also considered, and the rate is designed to have the least impact possible to the customer.”

Dunlap said the last rate adjustments (increases) took effect Jan. 1, 2015. Electric increased 6.5 percent, water 5 percent, and sewer 4 percent. The adjustments were delayed for implementation by 90 days.