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Study explores utility rate hike possibility for Boulder City

On April 5, the Boulder City Utility Advisory Committee spent more than three hours going over the draft results of the ongoing Utilities Rate Study.

The Boulder City Council and the UAC will meet jointly on Wednesday, April 26, from 1-3 p.m. to receive the final draft presentation from the consultant, Raftelis, that performed the study. (Raftelis is a national financial firm with offices in a dozen states that specializes in advising local governments on issues related to utilities, including helping to determine rates.)

Council will then receive the recommendations from the consultant at the first meeting in May before taking any potential action.

The American Public Power Association recommends a cost-of-service study every three to five years or when there is major change in a power supply contract; adding additional generation resources, or a major distribution or transmission upgrade or investment.

According to a report, the city has taken on an additional 30-year power purchase with Townsite Solar, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2022. The city is also completing major distribution and transmission investments to prepare for the 4160 V to 12.47 kV distribution system conversion.

“With these changes, coupled with rising costs in power purchases and wholesale water purchases, the city has contracted Raftelis to conduct a utilities rate study to determine potential rate adjustments,” the report states.

Developed with input from a Feb. 1 meeting, prior UAC presentations and discussions with staff, Raftelis came up with the following recommendations:

1. Revenue increases for each fund (electric, water, wastewater).

2. Maintain fund balance over 20% minimum due to revenue and expense risks.

3. No additional payments on raw water line debt given new interest rate environment.

4. Unbundle power supply and purchased water cost from electric and water rates.

5. Restructure residential block rates for electric and water to encourage conservation.

6. Restructure fixed charges for water to align with American Water Works Association practices

7. No change to city rates (other than fixed charges).

8. Adjust net metering policy/agreements to reflect unbundled electric rate and ensure appropriate cost recovery.

Contact editor Ron Eland at reland@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523.

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