Photo: Utility bills will be increasing this winter
The typical Belmont Light residential customer will see their electric rate rise on average $14 a month, according to a consultant’s report provided to the Belmont Municipal Light Board at its Oct. 12 meeting.
The upward adjustment to electric rate design will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023 after an affirmative vote by the board.
“The new rate design allows Belmont Light to keep up with skyrocketing prices in the energy markets, sparked by a dramatic increase in natural gas costs, among a number of other factors while continuing to upgrade its electric delivery system and improve upon its reliability,” said a recent press release from the town’s municipal utility.
The increase comes after more than a decade of stable rates with little fluctuation in an average bill.
The local increase is far less than what one of the major state-wide utilities is proposing.
“In total, the monthly bill of a typical residential electric customer using 600 kWh (kilowatt-hours) will increase from $179 in the winter 2021-2022 season, to approximately $293 for the winter 2022-2023 season,” National Grid said in a press release this month, a jump of 64 percent year-over-year.
The Belmont Light report was provided by PLM Electric Power Engineering, a highly-specialized electric power consulting and design firm based in Marlborough.
The overall revenue increase for all classes is 13.5 percent in 2023. For residential customers with an average usage of 500 kWh, their bill will increase from $111.19 to $125.18 or just about 12 percent. Residential low income customers will see charges jump $8.81 ($69.82 to $78.63) a month which is about a 12.6 percent.
Those who purchase from the utility for commercial heating will see a 12.2 percent increase while large municipal users will see its average bill increase by 5.7 percent, or $552 – $9,624 to $10,176 – with an average 60,000 kWh bill.
While the distribution increase is estimated to be just north of four percent, purchase power is expected to jump by 18 percent.
At these rates, the anticipated revenue in both 2023 and 2024 will be able to fund the utility’s debt repayment and PILOT – payment in lieu of taxes – to the town. But distribution rates will need to increase another six percent to meet the anticipated 2025 overall revenue needs.
Before it votes on approving the new rates, the Municipal Light Board is holding a public forum where it will present in less technical terms the need for an increase while answering any customer’s questions.
The public forum will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. on Zoom. Belmont Media Center will also air the public forum on its TV and internet channels, Channel 96 on Comcast, Channel 30 on Verizon, and belmontmedia.org/watch/infotv