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Electricity rates are going up in Healdsburg.  

The cost of power will rise incrementally over the next several years for households, businesses and institutions served by Healdsburg's municipal utility. That's following a meeting earlier this week where the new rates were unanimously approved.

Terry Crowley, Utility Director for the City of Healdsburg said a rate bump has become unavoidable, noting rates were last lifted four years ago. Since then, he said, financial pressures have increased. 

"We talked about rapid inflation, market disruptions, and all of those things coming together to increase the city's cost to provide electric service."

Crowley said electricity sold to Healdsburg residents is and will remain a comparative bargain.

"Where we stand today is, current rates are roughly 50 percent lower than PG&E and Sonoma Clean Power, but these increasing costs are necessitating rate increases."

The new rates will apply to bills starting in October. They include a sixteen percent rate increase, along with higher basic month connection fees.

According to Crowley, the average household, using 500 kilowatts per month, would see their bill rise by $11.46.

"(The) City's bill would be around $92 per month, under PG&E's rates it would be $173, so they are looking at a pretty substantial difference for residential customers,"

 Crowley says the utility has deferred some projects and was dipping into reserves, the rate increases will eventually restore that fund.

Despite the increases, Crowley predicted that the spread between what Healdsburg residents are charged compared to PG&E customers will continue growing. That's because, he said, state regulators with the California Public Utilities Commission approved a 9 percent rate increase at PG&E's request in March and that the company is seeking another increase this year, of between 12 and 19 percent.

 

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