Lansing BWL Approves Rate Hikes

By: Alex Goldsmith Email
By: Alex Goldsmith Email

In a unanimous decision, the Lansing Board of Water and Light approved three sets of rate hikes.

Starting March 1, power rates will go up 1.5 percent.

"In order to keep serving Board of Water and Light customers in a reliable way, in an environmentally friendly way, you need to increase rates every now and then," said J. Peter Lark, general manager for the BWL. "We think a 1.5 percent hike is justified."

In October of 2012 and October of 2013, those rates will go up an additional 3.75 percent each year. The larger hikes are to pay for a planned greener natural gas power plant in Reotown.

"From our old plant to our new plant we're going to see a carbon dioxide reduction of 50 percent," said Lark.

The BWL says that the average customer should expect to pay about $5 a month more once all three rate hikes are in place. The first one is only expected to bump rates around 72 cents more per month. Although even small hikes are too much for some customers.

"These rates are hard enough for me," said John Zigler, a BWL customer. "They need to keep them right where they're at."

"They come back every year asking for a rate increase," said Rick Perry, a BWL customer. "When is it going to stop?"

But Lark wants customers to keep perspective. He cites numbers that show that BWL has the 3rd lowest prices out of municipal utilities in the state.

"We're lower than Consumers, we're lower than the average utility," said Lark. "We're virtually the lowest power provider in the state of Michigan."


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