If Independence Power and Light customers see any notable increases in their monthly bills over the 2013-14 fiscal year, it simply will be from consuming more electricity.



In his presentation to the City Council during Tuesday’s budget study session, Power and Light Director Leon Daggett said there are no planned rate increases for the upcoming budget year, though his department is considering some adjustments in rate tariffs for the future.

If Independence Power and Light customers see any notable increases in their monthly bills over the 2013-14 fiscal year, it simply will be from consuming more electricity.

In his presentation to the City Council during Tuesday’s budget study session, Power and Light Director Leon Daggett said there are no planned rate increases for the upcoming budget year, though his department is considering some adjustments in rate tariffs for the future.

Meanwhile, Water Department Director Dan Montgomery and Water Pollution Control Director Dick Champion announced no additional increases beyond prior-approved rate plans. All three directors discussed the difficulties in dealing with ever-changing and increasing federal regulations.

Power and Light proposes a budget of nearly $142 million for 2013-14, an increase of more than $4.7 million (3.5 percent) from the previous year. For a 12-month period ending this past February, IPL calculated its average residential monthly bill at $118.85, a range of $0.40 to $8.79 more than three Kansas City providers.

Daggett said the street light replacement project is slated to begin next month and should be completed by year’s end. The new LED street lights, in addition to having a wider coverage areas than the cobra head lights, should lead to a 65 percent decrease in energy usage for street lights and lower maintenance costs for an estimated $1 million in annual savings, he said.

The Water Department’s proposed budget of $27.9 million represents a 7.8 percent decrease from last year, due chiefly to fewer planned capital projects. Montgomery said the scheduled rate increase is about 7.25 percent, though Independence customers’ average monthly bill of $26.27 was fourth-lowest in a recent departmental survey of 13 area city rates.

Water Pollution Control’s proposed budget of nearly $26.5 million is 74 percent less than last year’s, due also to a sharp decrease in capital projects. The current adopted rate plan calls for a 4.5 percent increase this year, raising the average monthly bill from $29.42 to $31. The former figure was third-lowest in a survey of 12 cities.

“I’ve been doing this survey since Moby Dick was a guppy,” Champion said, “and we used to be right in the middle.”

City Manager Robert Heacock touted the national and international notices the water and WPC departments have received, noting how Montgomery and Champion simply glossed over them during their presentations.

“The level of recognition these departments have received is outstanding,” Heacock said. “They make it sound easy, and I assure you they are not.”