Why? Is this the last one? What can I do?


These are among the top questions that Independence Power & Light customers have asked in recent years when rate increases took effect mid-summer, said Mary Kay Villegas-Alitz, IPL’s customer programs administrator.

Why? Is this the last one? What can I do?


These are among the top questions that Independence Power & Light customers have asked in recent years when rate increases took effect mid-summer, said Mary Kay Villegas-Alitz, IPL’s customer programs administrator.


IPL officials want residents to know that another 5 percent base rate increase is coming in a little more than a month. The increase – the final one in a plan approved by the City Council in 2008 – is for electric use starting July 1, although customers won’t see the increase until their August bill.


The July and August bills will include notices of the increase. The average residential customer will see approximately a $5 increase on their monthly bill because of the increase, IPL Deputy Director Paul Mahlberg said.


IPL recommends the following energy-saving tips to help customers reduce their monthly bills:




Keep lights off when rooms are not in use. Lights generate heat that makes the air conditioner run more.

Use awnings, curtains or blinds to keep out direct sunlight. This will keep the home cooler.

Set the thermostat a few degrees higher (in the summer months) when you leave the home. For each degree the thermostat is raised, cooling costs are reduced between 6 to 8 percent.

Use a portable fan or ceiling fan to supplement air conditioning.

Move furniture to prevent blocking the return air grill.

Make sure the air-conditioner is working properly and that the filter is changed monthly.

But energy conservation also presents challenges for IPL, City Manager Robert Heacock said last week, as using less electricity through more efficient appliances negatively impacts franchise tax revenues to the city.


Mahlberg agrees, saying customers also are just tightening their belts more because of tough economic times in the past four years.


“We’re one of the few – if not the only – industries that actively promote the customer to use less of our product,” Mahlberg said. “The idea, though, is that we’re trying to (give incentives to) the customer to encourage them to (use) energy more effectively, for both of us.


“Our energy sales is so fluid. During the day, it peaks way up, so when we can have folks save energy during that time frame, it helps us, as well as them.”


In addition, energy conservation helps Power & Light delay new power-generating resources, Mahlberg said.


“It’s a tough balance,” he said of using versus conserving energy. “Every utility struggles with how much do you go out there and promote conservation, because it does an impact on our revenues. But, if we can pinpoint the proper amount of conservation, it helps both of us out.”


As for potential IPL rate increases in 2013 and beyond, the City Council on June 4 will vote on a $116,996 contract with Sawvel and Associates Inc. to conduct a rate study and IPL’s revenue requirements for 2013 through 2017. The company conducted IPL’s last rate study in 2008, as well.


New regulatory requirements from the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Electrical Regulatory Corporation, as well as IPL’s recent $55.2 million investment in the Dogwood Energy Facility in Pleasant Hill, continue to put pressures on future rates.


“It’s kind of hard to pinpoint whether Dogwood will require rate increases or not, with all of the other stuff that’s going on,” Mahlberg said. “We’ve got environmental regulations that continue to pound us.”