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City Council looks to rate study for area rate increase


The Sidney City Council postponed increases in electric rates for a study that would help the council determine future rate increases at their last meeting

According to Geri Anthony, Interim City Manager, the city normally has a rate increase around the annual budget time.

In Novembers' City Council meeting, Mayor Mark Nienhueser said any potential rate increase would be postponed until the rate study is completed.

"The good news, I don't think we're going to see a large increase in comparison to what our rate increase has been from our power provider," he said.

"We're going to be able to absorb some of that – how much we're going to determine in the coming weeks."

Also at the November meeting, Andrew Ross, of the Nebraska Municipal Power Pool( NMPP), presented an overview of the public utility's current financial status and projected future growth.

Anthony said the study would help the council determine future rate increases.

The comprehensive study was done with a financial proforma that essentially looks back two years and forward almost 4 years to find a financial middle ground.

According to Electric Superintendent, Mike Palmer, the proposed 12 percent increase is a transmission charge for our local electric providers, Western Area Power Administration and the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska.

"The transmission is basically how we get our power from point A to point B." Palmer says.

According to Palmer, NMPP was hired as an outside consultant to help conduct the study.

Out of the 12 percent increase Sidney residents and businesses will only see about a 4.7 percent increase on their bills if the ordinance goes through.

Palmer said, "We are looking to absorb most of the cost, the last thing that we want to do is have an increase shock."

Sidney customer rates were last increased in October 2014 by 10 percent.

The City Council will vote on this matter Tuesday Feb. 23, at 7:15 pm at City Hall.


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