Lansing Residents Could See Hike in Electricity Bill

By: Rachel Thomas Email
By: Rachel Thomas Email

The Board of Water and Light is proposing a series of electricity rate hikes. Consumers are worried their financial troubles are only getting worse.

"We are so on the cusp it is ridiculous. We are $500 over everything we'd be able to get assistance on," said BWL customer Jewell Chingmen.

"I will have to go to Department of Human Services and get emergency utility assistance. If there is not enough funding I don't know what I'll do," said Christine Bryant, another worried BWL customer.

The proposals include a 1.5 percent increase this March and then two 3.75 percent increases over the next two years. All together, it would add and average of $5 to your monthly bill. The hikes pay for general costs and the construction of the new natural gas plant in Reo Town.

"Overall it will save 30 percent in greenhouse gases for our company. That's well above what the federal government is recommending," said BWL's communication director Mark Nixon.

Energy consumers say they have already made sacrifices going far beyond turning off their lights.

"Unless we have a full load, I don't do laundry. Unless I have a full load of dishes, I don't run the dishwasher. My husband and I take five minute showers," said Chingmen.

"It seems no matter what you do to keep the bill down there is always a justification to raise the rates," said Bryant.

Increasing rates is a trend happeneing across the state.

"When you look at rates across the state, Lansing is the lowest for residental rates," said Jim Weeks, the executive director of the Michigan Municipal Electric Association.

Even with the hike, Lansing will be 15 percent lower than it's nearest competitor. The board of commissioners will hear the Board of Water and Light's proposals and public input tomorrow evening. They will have a final vote on Tuesday.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Michigan Sucks Location: Lansing on Feb 2, 2011 at 07:42 AM
    Michigan sucks. The best thing you can do is LEAVE!
  • by Jim Location: East lansing on Feb 1, 2011 at 12:25 PM
    Who does the transcribing for these stories? He said "20% reduction in greenhouse gases", not 30%.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 21, 2011 at 10:05 AM
    What a good idea! Lets get an outside firm to look over the efficiency of BWL, and it's employees? To see just where all the money goes.
  • by Chris Location: Lansing on Jan 21, 2011 at 09:34 AM
    I need someone to explain to me how we are paying the lowest rates in MI? They claim to be passing the profits to consumers so we do not pay high rates, but other cities are paying less than us....what is wrong with this picture? They can get away with overcharging because they know there are agencies who will pay these ridiculous prices.
  • by DumAsMe Location: Lansing on Jan 21, 2011 at 07:31 AM
    Catch 22: Use more electricity and pay less per KWH or use less electricity and pay more per KWH. It's time to review the BWL costs and salaries by an outside agency. What percent of the increase is due to the new natural gas plant in Reo Town?
  • by Anonymous on Jan 21, 2011 at 05:27 AM
    I hope everyone knows that nothing we say will make any difference. The odds are the BWL will get the extra money it wants. If you really think this is a non profit company, check out the salaries they pay. Someone is deffinately making big money.
  • by Shari on Jan 20, 2011 at 11:25 AM
    Last summer with no air conditioning in my house I received an electric bill of $250.00 This happened 2 months in a row and then the 3rd month I got one for $50.00 which is what I usually pay in the summer months. I called the Board and was told pay it, or else. There was no one I could talk to about it, and if I didnt like it get my electricity elsewhere. Wish I could. I still have no idea why my bills jump around to numbers they shouldn't, I am on disability, I have a fixed budget, I know exactly how much any of my bills should be within $5.00. In the summer my electric bill should never go over $75.00 a month, when I am running fans. I also use the new funny lights and turn off things I am not using.
  • by Sans on Jan 20, 2011 at 08:29 AM
    I have energy efficent appliances, lites etc. and yet since last summer my bill for electricity has gone up. I am on a budget, I know how much my bill average just like a lot of you, and yet 2 out of 3 months my bill is much higher than it should be, why? According to the Board of Water & light: they only read metors every 3rd month. They guess the other two. I am invited to read my own metor, and they will adjust the next bill. But over the past 9 or 10 months never have I seen a bill for less than what I wrote down to pay. Never see a credit. So where is the overpayments going, because there is no way without them having raised prices or fudged number are we using that much more electricity than we did the year before. Most of us are being a bit more frugal with lites etc.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 20, 2011 at 08:24 AM
    Didn't we have this disscussion just last summer? The BWL has been cutting back employees, and trying to raise our rates for almost a year now. The answer is still the same. Lansing residents don't have the money.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 20, 2011 at 04:58 AM
    The head of the board continues to make over $250 thousand a year. Seems to me instead of raising rates he could take a pay cut. I don't care what energy costs are in other parts of the state, we are talking LANSING! We the people of this area can not afford to pay more. A lot of us are unemployed or retired on fixed incomes, where does the board think the money is going to come from? Rain down from Heaven?
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