BWL customers could see rate increase in coming months

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – For customers of the Lansing Board of Water & Light, turning on your heat might cost you more in the coming years.

BWL wants its customers to know utility rates have not increased. In fact, the company says it’s possible rates won’t increase at all.

But, if rates do jump it won’t happen all at once…it will be a gradual process.

For the past two years, BWL customer’s rates have stayed relatively the same but now that the BWL Eckert plant is closing its doors for good, customers may see that change.

“We have to replace the energy and capacity that we lost when Eckert power plant closes…to build a new one, we’re going to have to bond for it and we’ll have to recoup that money somehow and that will be through a rate strategy,” General Manager of the Lansing Board of Water & Light Dick Peffley said.

Peffley says right now it hasn’t been decided what, if any increase in rates will be until details for the Eckert plants replacement have been finalized.

“We haven’t settled on the size of the plant, we’re working on that. I’m thinking after the first of the year, we’ll know how much this plant will cost and then we can divide it out over a 20 year time frame and figure out how it’s going to affect our residents,” Peffley stated.

He believes by putting multi-year rates in place, it will help homeowner’s better plan out their expenses.

“If you’re a homeowner looking to do your budget, here’s what my board bill is today, here’s what it will be in three years so that you’re not guessing that,” said Peffley.

Lansing City Council President Judi Brown Clarke agrees.

“I think sometimes when people do a rate hike, it’s like a big sticker shock because your rates increase and if it’s not a part of your personal budget, it can be really debilitating for some of our lower socio-economic citizens but if you do it over gradually over a period of time, I think it’s just far more fair,” Clarke stated.

BWL says customers should find out in three to six months what the cost of Eckert’s replacement plant will be and how it could affect their rates.

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