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Council approves electricity rate increase

HERMISTON, Oregon – The Hermiston City Council approved a proposal from Hermiston Energy Services to raise rates across the board at its regular meeting last night. The city-owned utility says it needs the rate increase because of the rising cost of wholesale power from Bonneville Power Administration, and the cost of administering the system from the Umatilla Electric Cooperative.

Assistant to the City Manager Mark Morgan says usage rate increases don’t apply to many customers.

“Residential and commercial customers are only seeing a change to their base rate, not the usage rate,” he wrote in an email. “Residential and small commercial customers of Hermiston Energy Services will see their base bills go up by $2 a month beginning in January. Industrial customers will see a slight increase to their usage rates and a $50 per month increase to their base bills.”

Morgan points out that Hermiston still offers its electrical customers some of the lowest rates around. Milton-Freewater’s city-owned electric utility is the lowest at $102 based on 1,400 kilowatt hours per month. With the rate increase, Hermiston and UEC tie at $111. Benton Public Utility District is at $119, followed by Columbia Basin at $139. Pacific Power is at $155, tied with the Oregon state average.

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