With New Fiscal Year Approaching, City Leaders are Working to Budget Biomass Plant
GAINESVILLE - Customers of Gainesville Regional Utilities will pay slightly more next year, based on the projected city budget that got preliminary approval this week.
GRU Spokesperson Katie Weitekamp say the proposed increase totals about $1 per month.
Residents and City Commissioners are looking ahead to how utility rates will be affected in 2014 once GRU begins selling electricity produced by Gainesville's new biomass plant.
"There is a very small market for that power now so we're gonna be stuck paying for power that frankly we don't need," City Commissioner Todd Chase said. "And it's that impact over time that I thinkis going to fundamentally change our city and ourcity government because of the importance GRU plays to our city budget."
Once the plant opens customers would see an increase of a penny per kilowatt hour to their monthly bill.
For the average residential utility customer that means a $10 increase to what would be seen on a current bill.
"No one ever said any thing other than there would be an increase to rates in the front years of this contract," City Commissioner Lauren Poe said. "There's never been anyone that's said anything differently. There's complete agreement and it's not a philosophical thing or an opinion. When you bring a new power source online of 100 mega watts, it's gonna cost a little bit more money upfront."
Two ratings companies have lowered their ratings of GRU's bonds, expressing the concern over the cost of biomass.
This week a third company offered a high rating of those bonds.
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