PEABODY — The average Peabody household will see their electric bill increase by about $63 a year based on new rates approved last night by the Municipal Lighting Commission.
The adjusted rates add slightly more than $5 a month to the average residential ratepayers' monthly bill. The typical bill will rise from $54.75 a month to $59.99.
"I think that these are appropriate for the times," Commissioner Robert Wheatley said before the commission unanimously endorsed the new rates. "This is not a big jump."
The new rates will go into effect on May 1. Ratepayers will still have the opportunity to receive a 20 percent discount if payment is made within 15 days after a bill is rendered.
The city's businesses will also be asked to pay more for their power. Commercial energy charges will increase from $0.1770 per kilowatt-hour for the first 500 kwh per month to $0.2183. For the next 2,500 kwh per month, the charge will go from $0.1273 to $0.1571.
The increases are the product of information generated by a comprehensive review of the Light Plant's financial standing that was completed by a consultant. Among the factors driving the increases are higher costs for materials, declining power usage and pay raises attached to a recently settled employee contract.
The last time the Light Plant increased its rates was February 2001. Even with the increase, Assistant Plant Manager Russell Dunn said, residential ratepayers in Peabody will still have the lowest power bills on the North Shore.
Monthly residential rates
Existing, $0.1392 per kwh for first 100 kwh per month, $0.1198 per kwh for all excess
New, $0.1660 per kwh for first 100 kwh per month, $0.1451 per kwh for all excess