Franklin residents to get electric bill relief

Published 1:24 pm Saturday, May 9, 2015

Starting with the next bill, Franklin residents will close the gap with Dominion customers to a tune of an $8.80 decrease for the average user. Unfortunately, those savings could be bit into come July.

Franklin Power and Light Director Mark Bly said Dominion modified its fuel adjustment rates for its customers a few months ago, and the company is just now offering those same savings to its municipality wholesale partners.

“You have probably heard that Dominion is touting its rates going down,” Bly said at the most recent Franklin City Council meeting. “That’s mostly been related to the fuel charge, but now we can say the same thing.”

The fuel charge has decreased .677 cents per kilowatt hour, so for April’s bill residents using an average of 1,000 kWhs will see a $6.70 reduction. As Mayor Raystine Johnson-Ashburn likes to ask: What does that mean for residents using 1,300 kWhs, which is Franklin’s average?

Bly said that was the aforementioned $8.80 decrease. He also added that currently the average usage for Franklin residents is 1,350 kWhs, but he expected that to even out to 1,300 by the end of the year.

But as Dominion giveth, so Dominion can also taketh away. As of Friday, the company is projecting a 4.9 percent increase to the wholesale rate for independent partners such as Franklin Power and Light.

While the fuel rate reduction would stay in place, Franklin would have to pass on a 4 percent increase to its customers if Dominion’s wholesale charge remains, said City Manager Randy Martin. He added that the 4 percent increase is the breakeven point.

The 4 percent increase combined with the decrease in the fuel charge still leads to an overall reduction of approximately .29 cents per kWh.

Customers using 1,000 kWhs would see a reduction of $2.91 from their bills, and the rate for 1,300 kWhs would decrease by $3.78.

Any fuel charge adjustment does not have to be approved by council, but the board would have to OK the 4 percent increase. If approved during Council’s June budget meeting, that rate would begin in July.

Council will have a public hearing for budget-related concerns such as the electric rate on June 1 at 7 p.m.