By Bradley Osburn
Gainesville Regional Utilities proposed it fiscal year 2014 budget to the Gainesville City Commission on Tuesday during a seven-hour long presentation that ended with the commission tabling the discussion until a later date.
GRU proposed two rating options that would affect residential consumers who purchase what GRU called its full basket of services, which includes electric, natural gas, water and wastewater. The first, based on existing usage tiers, would result in an average rate increase of $12.48, for an average bill of $244.88 per month.
The second proposal modifies rates to restructure tiers based on individual customer usage levels. The difference in per-month price would be a third of the proposed existing tier increase, at $4.43, for an average monthly bill of $236.83.
According to the budget, rate increases for businesses would mostly average less than 11 percent, depending on usage levels.
Proposed cost tiers are based on an average of 1,000 kilowatt hours of residential electrical usage. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average U.S. residential utility customer consumed an average 940 kilowatt hours per month. Floridians consumed an average of 1,131, so the rate suggestions may be slightly conservative.
GRU said that the driving force behind rate increases are linked to declining sales since the 2008 economic crash and overall increased costs of operation.
GRU hopes to meet its money-saving goals through actions like not funding 33 open employment positions, refinancing the company debt, searching out wholesale opportunities and not renewing the Progress Energy 50 MW Purchase Power Agreement.