Bills Show Rate Changes from Biomass Incinerator

- by Christopher Curry, October 30, 2013, Source: The Gainesville Sun

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"116","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"331","style":"width: 333px; height: 304px; float: left; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px;","width":"363"}}]]The October bills for electric customers of Gainesville Regional Utilities show the first of two rate increases scheduled for this budget year with the biomass plant coming online.

Bills sent out this month to residential customers show higher rates than in August and September. Still, they are below the rates in place for 10 of the 12 months of the budget year that ended on Sept. 30.

The more significant increase will come in December, the month the biomass plant is scheduled to go into full commercial operation.

For a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours a month, the October bill is $124.15. That is an increase from the $115.67 bill for that usage level in August and September. But it is below the $127.67 bill that a residential customer using 1,000 kwh a month would have had from October 2012 through July 2013.

In December, when this budget year's full rate increase from the biomass plant kicks in, the bill for 1,000 kwh usage will rise to $141.15.

One thousand kilowatt-hours' usage is commonly used as the measuring stick in comparing electric rates. It is above the average GRU residential usage, a result attributed to conservation and the large number of apartments in this college town, but close to the average usage for a single-family home in the GRU service area.

As a point of comparison, the lower GRU rates in place during August and September moved the utility's bills for 1,000 kwh usage from one of the highest in the state to the 11th-lowest among the 33 municipal utilities in Florida, according to the monthly report from the Florida Municipal Electric Association.