Early holiday gift? PUD considers 11% electric rate reduction in 1998
Customers of the Truckee-Donner Public Utility District should witness a substantial decrease in their electric bills soon, following expected board approval of a rate reduction Wednesday night.TDPUD General Manager Peter Holzmeister said new federal laws allowing deregulation of electricity generation made the rate reduction possible.Because of deregulation, TDPUD can shop around for its power, rather than just purchasing it from Sierra Pacific.”For more than 20 years, we had been buying power from Sierra Pacific,” Holzmeister said.”Beginning July 1, we began buying power from Idaho Power Co.”Because the Idaho firm relies heavily on hydroelectric sources of power, its fuel costs are lower than Sierra Pacific, which uses coal-fired plants to generate electricity.Federal deregulation has been enacted with the purpose of allowing competition in the power industry.Under the new laws, utility companies can sell electricity across lines owned by other companies, paying a service fee for use of the lines.”Until deregulation took effect, we could not have a contract with the Idaho Power Co.,” Holzmeister said.Even including the service fee for Sierra Pacific’s lines, he said the result of the contract is a substantial savings for customers.Customers should experience an 11 percent reduction in their monthly electric bills. An average household uses about 750 kilowatt hours of electricity per month, which cost about $55 this year.Under the new rate, the same amount of electricity would cost about $49.50, Holzmeister said.Lowest rates in the stateTDPUD rates have remained fairly constant, except for a rate increase in 1986.”For the past 12 years, rates have remained unchanged,” Holzmeister said.”This is the first time our rates have gone down. . . I think the Truckee-Donner Public Utility District will end up with the lowest rates in California – about 20 percent lower than Sierra Pacific and 30 percent lower than PG&E.”
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