Electric bill hike stems from cold snap
Holton’s electric power customers will see a monthly increase of “about two or three dollars” in their electric bill for 52 months as the result of the Holton City Commission’s approval of the city’s share of a bill from Oklahoma’s Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) related to electrical price spikes resulting from this past February’s polar vortex.
At their regular meeting on Monday, commissioners voted unanimously to pay $275,579 to GRDA over a 52-month period, or four years and four months, at a cost of $5,300 per month to help the power provider cover a total overall bill of more than $102 million charged to its customers across four states resulting from the February winter event that sent energy providers’ bills through the roof.
GRDA is one of a handful of electric power sources for the city of Holton, providing three megawatts per month in hydroelectric power to the city via its participation in the Kansas Municipal Energy Agency’s Energy Management Project No. 3 power pool.
The power provider serves 29 Kansas cities including Holton through KMEA, and KMEA’s share of GRDA’s February bill was $7,306,201, according to information provided by Holton City Manager Kerwin McKee, who reminded commissioners that a similar bill of $457,750.51 covering the power costs incurred by all of the city’s other power sources was paid in early March — meaning that the city will have paid a total of $733,329.51 when all is said and done.
That particular bill was paid as part of the city’s regular budget appropriations for the second half of February, but McKee recommended the 52-month payoff of the GRDA bill because “I don’t want to dwindle our electric fund down anymore.” If the city were to pay the GRDA bill all at once, he added, the cost to the city would be $260,936.
The reason for the 52-month payoff, which McKee told commissioners was “an odd number,” was that the city had a 20-year contract with GRDA that ends in 52 months, in 2026.
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