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Brundidge residents to see power increase

KENDRA MAJORS

Brundidge residents should get ready for the increase in their power bills come Feb. 1.

City Manager Brit Thomas said residents will see an 8.77 mil increase.

According to Thomas, the average residential customer in Brundidge uses 977 kilowatts of electricity.

With the rate changes, 1,000 kilowatts will increase nearly $8.25.

The current rate is $121.71 per 1,000 kilowatts, with the increase the total will be $129.95 per 1,000 kilowatts, Thomas said.

And that’s before taxes, Thomas said that municipalities have a 4 percent utility tax rate in which all the money goes to the special education trust fund of Alabama.

With taxes the total for 1,000 kilowatts will be $135.15.

That is slightly more than Alabama Power Co.’s current rate of $126.47 per 1,000 kilowatts, Thomas said.

Still, power suppliers such as Alabama Power and South Alabama Electric Cooperative pay a 6.2 percent utility tax rate.

The lower utility tax rate for municipalities is an advantage for a large industrial customer, Thomas said.

According to Thomas, PowerSouth Energy Cooperative, Brundidge’s power supplier doesn’t anticipate another increase without some large spike in coal or natural gas.

And PowerSouth is opting to buy off the grid if it cannot produce electricity cheaper than it can buy it.

Councilman Lawrence Bowden and Councilwoman Cynthia Pearson both expressed their concerns about answering to their constituents about the increase in power rates.

“It’s difficult when you try to talk to constituents about utilities they don’t understand,” Pearson said.

Bowden also expressed his concerns for explaining to his district what the increases were for.

“In 6-8 months, what happens if the price goes up,” Bowden said.

“If we have folded it into the fuel rate we just adjust the fuel rate,” Thomas said.

Thomas explained that the bill would be divided into the rate for electricity and an Energy Cost Adjustment factor (ECA)

The city will conduct a month-long rate study to ensure that it is capturing all the costs,

The rate study will show all the factors from A to Z, from keeping up the lines to distribution costs, Thomas said. These costs would have nothing to do with PowerSouth.