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BPW Manager explains rate increase Print E-mail
Written by Mallory Biering   

When customers for the Board of Public Works (BPW) receive their bills on September 1st for the utilities used from July 15th to August 15th, they can expect an almost 4% increase. This increase, which is not a flat increase, is a result of the new wholesale price from Santee Cooper and the Southeast Power Administration (SEPA). The rates will be increasing due to the wholesale price the BPW is paying Santee Cooper, but also to reach a much needed financial goal they have set for their departments (electric, gas, water, and sewer).

Navillus Utility Consulting, LLC (NUC), has drafted a report which will show how each department can be “self-sufficient and not dependent upon cash flow from another department to subsidize rates.” By making these increases now, the departments will be able to increase the cash reserves to $5.5 million by the year 2017. It is important to have each department in the positive, so that they are able to be more efficient. Efficiency is one reason why the cash reserve must be increased from current $3.9 million to the previously stated $5.5. The latter reason is to keep from paying interest on loans which might need to be obtained for maintenance of equipment. If the BPW has the money to fix problems with equipment, the loans will not be needed, resulting in saving customers of the BPW money.

During these economic times, the BPW would like to make it very clear they understand the issues their customers might face with the increased rates. After all, not only do the individual customers have to make these payments, but the BPW does as well. Will Martin, manager of the BPW explained during an interview that they too receive a utility bill for each location they have, which is why they are stressing the “going green,” idea in every home.

The BPW’s new utility building, located at 276 Elm Street, will be a “green building.” With the help of Santee Cooper, the building will conserve as much energy as possible through the use of LED lights and other energy saving materials. Martin stressed the importance for every BPW customer to conserve energy in their homes. This can be done by turning off lights, unplugging lamps, or even skipping a day when watering the lawn.

Martin expressed his understanding for the financial situations of the customers involved, and said the departments were willing to work with their customers to make sure the payments were made. He knows waiting to reach these goals will only dig a deeper hole for the departments to climb out of in the future. It’s important to address financial issues now, rather than later.

 
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