Posted By: KLKN Newsroom
The Lincoln Electric System board proposed it's 2014 operating budget which includes a rate hike. The LES total operating budget of $257.6 million, is up $2.2 million from the 2013 budget.
Also proposed was a capital budget of $64.4 million, which is $6.5 million less than last year's budget. The total budget proposed requires a 2.9 percent system-wide average increase in electric rates effective January 1, 2014. LES says the typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month would see an average increase of about $2.41 on their monthly bills.
The reason for the increase? LES Vice President of Financial Services and Chief Financial Officer Laura Kapustka says the increase would cover rising energy transmission costs, increased expenses to operate and maintain the utility's assets and system reliability, the updated forecast for energy sales, and the expansion of the utility's popular Sustainable Energy Program.
The lower capital expenses are attributed to the completion of a couple major construction projects in 2013.
"This includes the Central Lincoln Reliability Project, which replaced aging cable throughout the city that was reaching the end of its useful life and beginning to fail, and the Bluff Road Landfill Gas to Energy Project," Kapustka said.
A public meeting on the proposed LES 2014 budget and rate adjustment will be held Thursday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. at the Center for People in Need, 3901 N. 27th St., Unit 1. Board action on the budget and rate adjustment is planned at the Oct. 18 meeting.
With the approval of the LES Administrative Board, the proposed budget and rate adjustment will be considered by the Lincoln City Council at a public hearing in November.
Additional information about the budget proposal will be available Monday, Sept. 23 on LES' website: www.les.com