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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