Utility board considers splitting water, electric bills - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Utility board considers splitting water, electric bills

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

At Thursday night's city council meeting, the Electric Utility Board brought up the possibility of separating the water and electricity into two separate bills. They presented the idea as a way to save consumers money.

Electric Utility Board Chairman Gail Kring considered staggering the payments, with one bill at the beginning of the month and the other on the 15th.

"We're just beginning to look at this. We really don't know if it's feasible, economical, or possible, but we instructed staff to look at this and this is the first rough draft that they brought to us yesterday," Kring said.

Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson attended the meeting but actually walked out in frustration when this topic was discussed. Robertson said this deal would actually end up worse for taxpayers.

"We could possibly spend anywhere from two to five million dollars extra between LP&L and the City of Lubbock to do all this separation," he said. "The taxpayers are going to pay for it whether it's through property tax or rate increase through LP&L. Taxpayers, in the end, will suffer the cost."

Mayor Robertson said there is a lack of communication between LP&L executives and the city council that needs to be resolved.

"It was frustrating to me that we saw another presentation that had a lot of estimates that had no factual basis at all. Right now, there's an absolute unwillingness on the part of management at LP&L to communicate with the staff at the City of Lubbock," he said. "There's an underlying tension (and) the only thing (that) is going to solve it is communication."

Kring said that these plans are still in the very early stages and a lot needs to be considered before anything is done.

"We need to think of the number of employees, the cost, what are we paying right now and what the city's paying right now. Certainly we would not want to increase that cost, but if it's more efficient and we could do it and save some money or for the same amount of money then that's something worth looking at," Kring said. "We just made the first brush, the first pass to try and figure out what we need to do. Now our people need to go back and fine tune their numbers before we can come to a conclusion."

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