LP&L board recommends rate increase pending council approval - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

LP&L board recommends rate increase pending city council approval

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

The Lubbock Power and Light board is recommending a rate increase for your power bill as soon as October.

Lubbock city council must vote on the recommendation made on Tuesday.

Average consumers could pay 8 percent more if the council approves the decision.  

At least 9 area businesses that use a substantial amount of power would see a decrease based on the proposed rate plan.

LP&L customers overall would face an increase of nearly 5 percent, but the range depends on a customer's rate class.

Board member Lloyd Rhinehart says the proposed plan follows the same rate changes Xcel passed for their customers in February.

In the board meeting LP&L officials said they traditionally followed rate plans by Xcel, until February's rate change.

Tuesday's board recommendation passed 5 to 3, with one member abstaining.

According to LP&L's numbers, they could have had a negative financial year if it weren't for high power use in the hot summer months.

Board chairman W.R. Collier adamantly opposed the decision and said LP&L normally makes most of their money in the summer. Collier said he doesn't see the need for a rate increase after a profitable year.

LP&L says the cost of the electricity we buy from Xcel is ultimately higher.

Board members in opposition say there wasn't a written plan in place for where the money from the rate hikes would go.

In the meeting, several board members expressed interest in using the money from the increases to pay off debt or fund future projects instead of borrowing money.

LP&L is supposed to provide their own power by 2019 based on their agreement to buy out Xcel. Some board members said they wanted to make sure they have enough money in reserves going forward, in case of an emergency.

The board hopes to have a budget amendment for a plan for the rate increases by their next meeting.

Mayor Tom Martin said he doubts the council will make any decision at their meeting Thursday.

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