Lake Placid spreads out power bill hike

LAKE PLACID – The village put letters of clarification within village residents’ electric bills, attempting to explain an increase in electric rates and break down what the village has done to spread out the costs.

The rate per kilowatt hour already increased from less than half a penny in the Dec. 1 bill to 1.2 cents on Feb. 1. For the March bill it would have increased to 4.9 cents, more than quadrupling the rate a month ago, due to the village going over its 28-megawatt allotment supply of hydroelectric energy from the New York Power Authority. The village has seen an increase in electricity use due to a colder-than-usual winter, and NYPA charges much higher rates for use beyond the allotment.

However, the New York Power Authority has let villages like Lake Placid and Tupper Lake spread out the cost increases so as not to hit customers all at once.

Peter Kroha, the village electric superintendent, proposed the modified plan to the New York Power Authority last week but was unsure if the authority would approve it or if the village would be removed from the power authority’s budget plan payment system.

However, Mayor Craig Randall said at Monday’s village board meeting that the power authority agreed with the plan.

Now, the village says in its letter to customers, a customer using 2,541 KWH consistently each month would see a March bill of $169.50 – $54.92 for consumption plus $114.58 in base charges – instead of $239.37 ($124.79 for consumption) without the NYPA agreement. That sample customer’s February bill would have been $145.26 ($30.68 for consumption), January’s would have been $131.96 ($17.38 for consumption), and December’s would have been $127.03 ($12.45 for consumption).