The Stillwater City Council has authorized adding a power cost adjustment surcharge to both residential and commercial electric bills beginning in October. Utility customers will see it on their bills as a line item for the first time in November.
It’s designed to allow the City of Stillwater’s electric utility recover half the increased energy cost it incurred in February during a freak cold snap that caused rolling blackouts across the central U.S. and sent natural gas and wholesale power prices skyrocketing.
The City was hit with a bill totaling more than $7 million from its wholesale supplier, Grand River Dam Authority.
The City Council opted to absorb half the balance using money from the city’s general fund. The other half will be recovered from customers over 36 months through the power cost adjustment.
The charge will vary from 2-3 mills, depending on usage, Electric Utility Director Loren Smith said. When usage is down, the millage will increase to ensure the utility recovers costs as budgeted.
The electric utility will need to recover $99,144 per month to ensure the balance is repaid within three years.
The average residential customer using 883 kilowatt hours of power per month should see their bill increase by $1.77 - $2.65, he said. The average commercial customer using 1,897 kWH would see an increase of $3.79 - $5.69 per month.
Mayor Will Joyce noted that other electric utilities, like PSP and OG&E, are seeking 100% recovery from their customers and have requested higher rates from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
In other business:
- GRDA was thanked for donating $11,000 to cover the cost of 800 backpacks stuffed with supplies for Stillwater students.
- A rezoning request at 2303 and 2324 W. 8th Ave. and 802 S. Western was tabled until Sept. 20.
- A map amendment rezoning 522 N. Perkins Rd. from Commercial Shopping to Commercial General passed 4-1 with Councilor Amy Dzialowski voting against it. A Specific Use Permit allowing the land to be used as a high-end RV park was also approved by the same margin.
- The owners of dilapidated properties at 3040 E. Peach Tree and 2508 W. 8th Ave. were given until October 18 to make progress on securing and repairing their properties.
- Budget amendments accepting $64,000 in grants for the Stillwater Public Library, $5,200 from Grand Lake Mental Health for the Stillwater Police Department Critical Incident Team and $5.4 million in FAA grants for Stillwater Regional Airport were approved.
- Right-of-way occupancy was approved for VAST Broadband, a new cable and internet provider.
- Ownership of three formerly city-owned lots was transferred to the Stillwater Housing Authority for building low income housing.
- An additional $10,000 was added to $270,506 budgeted by the city for utility relocation related to construction on Perkins Road.
- Resolutions authorizing creating a $1 million “line of credit” to fund up-front financing incentives for new development in Tax Increment Financing districts, authorizing SPD officers to be cross-deputized by the Noble County Sheriff’s Office, and adopting the new electric surcharge were approved 5-0.
- An ordinance creating a requirement for a traffic study as part of the preliminary plat for construction projects was advanced to second reading.