Starting on September 1, ratepayers in Wake Forest, North Carolina – a town of about 30,000 just north of the state capital, Raleigh – will pay less for power.
On August 16, the five-member Wake Forest Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 to reduce electricity rates – a change that will mean commercial customers of Wake Forest Power will pay about $30.79 less for electricity each month, and large industrial customers will pay about $242 less, according to an official announcement.
The average residential utility customer in Wake Forest will pay about $1.64 less each month, or about $129.05 less annually.
The updated rate schedule comes just over one year after Wake Forest and 31 other cities and towns that comprise the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency (NCEMPA) sold their shares in five nuclear- and coal-plant assets to Duke Energy Progress for $1.2 billion.
The sale resulted in a decrease in wholesale power costs for Wake Forest and the other members of NCEMPA. The agency acts as an intermediary between the 32 municipalities and utility providers, negotiating group wholesale prices.
Following the sale in July 2015, Wake Forest hired consulting engineers Booth & Associates to conduct a comprehensive cost of service and rate design study. The study’s findings justified a 2.75 percent average decrease in overall power costs to residential and commercial customers.
The new rates reflect a decrease in the “energy charge” or cost for power, but an increase to the “basic charge”– $15.95 instead of the current $9.89 –that covers system costs such as billing, depreciation, salaries, equipment, and repairs to all rate classes. The basic charge for residential and most commercial classes had not been adjusted since 1992.
Town Commissioner Jim Thompson voted against the new rates, saying he was disappointed Wake Forest couldn’t offer more savings to utility customers, according to a report in the local News & Observer. He said he wanted to learn more about the reasons behind the service-fee hike.
“I was hoping to get some more of that information,” he said. “But obviously, they were ready to vote.”
The Board of Commissioners plans to request another electricity rate study in 2020.