Clinton Council Takes No Action on Electric Rates

During the summer of 2015 Laurens County experienced an extended heat wave and utility bills, particularly in Clinton, skyrocketed.  At a public meeting in August of that year the city presented a plan to address those high bills.  A part of that plan was to conduct an independent Cost of Service Study to compare the true cost of utility service in Clinton to the rates being charged and to adjust those rates accordingly.

One aspect of this endeavor was to make the various services become self-sufficient.  For many years Clinton’s electric utility has subsidized other city services, but with the extremely high electric bills being paid by city residents, that practice was deemed no longer tolerable.

At a meeting of Clinton City Council last night council heard from Steve Shurbutt of GDS Associates in Atlanta.  Mr. Shurbutt presented the results of an extensive study into all utility costs incurred by the city and the rates charged in the city of Clinton.  The report also recommends changes to the rating structure.

The good news….he says electric rates should come down and stop subsidizing other utility departments.

The bad news….the cost for other parts of the average utility bill would increase, some of them significantly, if the plan is adopted. Water rates in particular will experience an increase approaching 50%.

Doing some quick math, Council Member Ronnie Roth commented that after the average reduction in the electric rate and the increase in the water rate are taken into consideration, the result would mean about a $1 increase in the total paid by the average Clinton utility customer.  “That’s just not what people want to hear” he said.

No action was taken on the rate adjustment plan during last night’s meeting.