For the second time this summer, Lubbock Power & Light is on record asking for a rate hike. They are claiming that the city-owned utility is on track to lose roughly $7 million, and for the second time, Lubbock's new mayor is on record saying it's too early to make that decision. LP&L has been losing money since the fall of last year. That much is not in dispute.
Generally, LP&L makes its money in June, July, August, and to some extent, September. Those are the hottest months, and there's a compelling argument that LP&L should lose money for a while to make up for windfall profits last summer - profits that came at your expense. The other way to give that money back to the citizens is with a refund at the end of the year. But...
The mayor is right to say let's wait and see, and he's also right to say it's not LP&L's job to make a lot of money, so that politicians and bureaucrats can use that profit like a hidden tax. A rate hike may very well be in order, but a strong case will have to be made, especially if LP&L has tens of millions of dollars sitting in reserves. I've said it before, LP&L has no business stockpiling money beyond a reasonable safety net. Lubbock Power & Light's mission should not be to make a profit. The mission should be to keep the lights on and serve customers with the lowest possible rates.
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