Electric hook-up fee raise likely | SierraSun.com

Electric hook-up fee raise likely

A raise in electric connection fees for new construction projects was expected to be approved by the Truckee Donner Public Utility District Board of Directors at last night’s meeting.

Action by the board was not available as of press time.

The board scheduled a public hearing Wednesday, April 18 at their meeting, on an increase in the fee it charges to connect new buildings to the power grid.

PUD Assistant General Manager Stephen Hollabaugh suggested raising the fee from $860 to $1,100, the average cost for the three different types of connections.

“We are losing money on every connection we do, so we have to raise our connection fee,” Hollabaugh said. “Materials have gone up, labor has gone up, everything has gone up, so this has to change.”

As an alternative, Hollabaugh suggested the board could increase the cost for each of the three connections independently, so the cost for each service would be passed on to the builder directly. The connection costs would range from $988.73 for an overhead service to $1,237.36 for underground service connecting to an overhead transformer.

“We are not making a profit, we are just covering our cost,” Hollabaugh said.

Contractors and builders in the area oppose the fee hikes because they further increase building costs, and threaten to shrink profit margins if housing prices fall off.

“The PUD just raised the connection fee for water and it went up three to four times depending on the size of the house, and now they want to raise electric fees,” said Mitch Clarin, president of the Contractor’s Association of Truckee Tahoe. “As the housing prices go down and the cost of housing goes up it decreases the profit margin.”

Clarin said the building community is beginning to see housing prices go down after a boom in the past several years.

“It always affects the homeowner in the end,” Clarin added.

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