BLP rate hike approved 6 to 1

17,000 customers living in the city of Marquette and the nine adjacent townships will soon see an 8.5 percent rate hike in their electric bill.

The motion to pass the Board of Light and Power’s proposed rate increase was approved by a 6 to 1 count tonight at the Marquette City Commission meeting. Commissioner Cambensy was the lone vote of opposition. The same measure was postponed in September to allow businesses and residents more time to budget the possible hike.

The BLP has reinvested more than $16 milion into it’s infrastructure over the past few years without raising rates. The community-owned not-for-profit recently employed a “cost of service” study that indicated the need for an additional $4 a month, on average, from each of it’s customers.

“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 Board put off a similar hike each of the past three years as the community fell on hard economic times. It’s the second rate increase for the BLP in the past 30 years. There’s no word yet as to when the increase would start. If it were to have passed in September, it would have been implemented starting October 1st.