Cartersville approves electric rate increase
by Jason Lowrey
Nov 02, 2012 | 2855 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cartersville Electric Service customers can expect increased fees on Feb. 19, 2013, for metered consumption and on Nov. 20 for outdoor lighting with the Cartersville City Council’s approval of an electric rate ordinance amendment.

The rate increase comes from increased costs in producing power and in the form of environmental compliance charges, which go toward reducing the amount of air pollutants from power plants, among other projects.

<*p(0,9,0,11.1,0,0,g(P,S))>During its Thursday night work session and meeting, the council heard from CES Director David Meyers and Chairman of the Bartow-Cartersville Joint Development Authority James Jarrett, who represented a number of local industrial customers. The two men discussed the fine details of how often to review the power cost adjustment aspect of billing and the variables that form the adjustment.

Jarrett and the industrial customers wanted a yearly review of the adjustment, as they felt it would reduce any inconsistencies or prejudices within the billing system. The current review method is to use a cost of service study, which occurs when the average power cost adjustment hits one cent. Meyers did not support a yearly review, as it meant CES would be dependent on an outside source for a vital piece of information needed for the review.

“We do not have the ability in house, but we do have the ability to obtain the numbers, yes,” Meyers said.

The council voted to accept the rate increases presented at the Oct. 18 meeting, which would result in a 7.4 percent increase for residential customers, 6.6 percent increase for what is considered small power and 2.3 percent increase for the extra large power class, in addition to five other class increases.

During the Oct. 18 meeting, City Manager Sam Grove emphasized that while residential customers do make up the largest class of customers, industrial customers use the most power.

In a later interview with The Daily Tribune News, Grove estimated that some industrial customers paid as much as $500,000 a month to the city’s electric utility.

While Meyers did not recommend the rate increases in the amendment or the yearly review of the power cost adjustment, the city council passed it unanimously. Assistant City Attorney Keith Lovell explained how part of the ammendment would work after it was passed.

“What it would do, for example, on both the future construction charge and the environmental compliance charge, what that is saying is that the charge will be reviewed annually, we will be adding to the end of that, and that said charge shall be reviewed and modified as necessary by the electric director,” he said.

Jarrett and the manufacturers had pushed for the yearly review as a way to ensure that rate adjustments were calculated in a clear, fair manner.

“I’m much more comfortable with an actual way of getting to these numbers on a regular basis. That we can say to folks that are concerned with this how the numbers are calculated. I like that approach,” he said.

Other city council business included:

• Amending the city’s animal control ordinance.

• Amending the fiscal year 2011-12 budget.

• Approving the transmission of the Capital Improvements Element Annual Update to the Department of Community Affairs and Northwest Georgia Regional Commission.

• Approving a resolution to join the Bartow County Metropolitan Planning Organization.

• Approving the purchase of 149 Etowah Drive.

• Approving the purchase of 22 and 24 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

• Approving the production of next year’s calendar from New Dimension in the sum of $8,778.61 for production and postage.

• Approving the purchase of hand-held meter reading units, training and necessary equipment in the sum of $37,210.

The Cartersville City Council’s next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 15 at 6 p.m. for the work session and 7 p.m. for the regular meeting at city hall.