The Marquette Board of Light and Power has reinvested more than $16 million into its infrastructure over the past few years without raising rates. Now, the community-owned, not-for-profit is looking to restore its funding in order to maintain reliable service and meet future load growth.
A recent cost-of-service study showed the need for a rate increase of 8.5 percent or a little more than $4 a month for the average customer. The Board put off a similar hike each of the past three years as the community fell on hard economic times.
“We made a decision at the board and senior staff level that we were going to hold off on the recommended rate increases that our consultant had proposed until the economy got back on its feet. We didn’t want to strap the community with that extra burden at that time,” explained Paul Kitti, the Executive Director at the Marquette Board of Light and Power. “It makes sense that we do it now because we need to build up our reserves and start planning for the future as we continue to provide reliable, affordable electric service for the city of Marquette and the surrounding townships.”
The community-controlled utility just completed reinvesting $4.8 million into the Tourist Park Hydroelectric Dam which will produce renewable energy for years to come. The Board hopes that that type of foresight and commitment to the community shines through at tonight’s City Commission meeting where the rate increase will be considered for approval.
“This is our second rate increase over the last thirty years. We’re not used to coming back to the commission for rates. We do run a pretty good ship here. Our employees and board of directors in the community are very proud of the services we provide as a municipal energy provider,” Kitti added.
At the Marquette City Commission meeting Monday night, the commission did not approve the rate increase. Instead, they opted for the board to give a proposal of the rate increases at the next commission meeting. The Marquette Board of Light and Power wanted the increases to start October 1; the commission did not say if, or when, they would approve the rate increase, but it would happen sometime after the board’s proposal.