Ashland electric rates to rise

Electric rates in Ashland will go up by 4 percent on Nov. 1, costing a typical family of four an extra $4.61 each month.

An Ashland City Council majority voted on Tuesday night to approve the increase after hearing that the Bonneville Power Administration will raise its wholesale power rates by 7.5 percent on Oct. 1. The city of Ashland's Electric Department retails electricity to customers in town and will pass on part of the wholesale rate increase.

"It certainly doesn't make me happy to raise it by 4 percent. But we're kind of in a bind because BPA raised our wholesale rate," said council member David Chapman, who voted with Carol Voisin, Kate Jackson and Russ Silbiger to raise the electric rate.

Ashland Electric Department Director Dick Wanderscheid said the city is trying to balance the financial health of the electric fund with keeping the impact on residents and businesses as small as possible.

City policy calls for the electric fund to keep reserves of $1,364,487, but the fund will dip $94,273 below that target, city staff said.

Also Tuesday night, council majorities voted to raise transportation and storm drain fees that appear on utility bills by 3 percent each. The combined increases will go into effect Nov. 1 and will cost a typical family of four an extra 35 cents each month.

— Ashland Daily Tidings

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