LES proposes 2012 budget and rate hike

By:  Newsroom

Lincoln Electric System says they're faced with new federal regulations and increasing power and operating costs.

LES staff proposed a 2012 operating budget totaling $235.6 million to its board members
Friday.  The staff also proposed a nearly 4 percent increase in electric rates effective January 1, 2012.

LES Administrator and CEO Kevin Wailes says to meet growing regulatory demands and increases in power and transmission cost, it was necessary to propose the rate increase.  The increase would generate about $9.3 million dollars.  LES customers would pay an average increase of about $3.34 on their monthly bills.

Wailes says an initial analysis projected a rate increase of 8.5, however, the LES Administrative Board's Budget and Rates Committee and staff found ways to reduce the proposed increase.  Wailes says the EPA's new Cross-State Air Pollution Rule was a factor in the proposed rate increase.  The rule was announced in July and is scheduled to go into effect January, 2012.  It mandates significant reductions in power plant emissions that cross state lines.

A public meeting on the LES 2012 budget and proposed rate increase will be held Tuesday, October 25, at 7 p.m. at the Center for People in Need, 3901 N. 27th St.   Action on the budget by the LES board will take place Nov. 3rd.  If approved, the proposal will go before the Lincoln City Council on November 21st with a public hearing.