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Power costs get passed along

Maintaining our lower rate is important to our residents and businesses.

The Forest Grove City Council recently approved an increase in electric rates for Forest Grove Light and Power customers.

The increase will go into effect Oct. 1 and raise electric rates 5.25 percent.

For a residential customer whose bill is $50 per month, this translates to $2.63 more per month, while someone whose bill is generally $75 per month will pay $3.94 more per month.

This increase is necessary because the costs to Forest Grove to buy electricity will increase Oct. 1.

Forest Grove Light and Power buys most of the city's electricity from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA).

The BPA is increasing its wholesale rate to Forest Grove by approximately 10.1 percent as of Oct. 1.

Electricity purchases comprise about half of the expenditures of the Light and Power Department, so BPA's increase translates to a 5.25 percent increase to Forest Grove rate payers.

Forest Grove customers should remember that their monthly bill is a combination of utility services - water, sewer, surface water management and electricity.

On Oct. 1, the electrical rate portion of the bill will increase by 5.25 percent. However, depending upon electrical usage and the billing cycle, rate payers may not notice this change until their November bills.

It is important to note that all BPA customers throughout the northwest will need to absorb the BPA increase as well.

We want to assure all of our residents that we will continue to strive to keep Forest Grove Light and Power rates the best power deal in Washington County.

The city-operated Forest Grove Light and Power has a long history of providing outstanding power service to our community at one of the lowest rates in the Pacific Northwest. We believe maintaining our lower rate is important to our residents and businesses alike, especially during these tough economic times.

However, sometimes there are pass-through costs the city must absorb that require rate increases in order to cover our cost.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call Light and Power Department at 503.992.3250 or check the city's website at www.forestgrove-or.gov.

- Susan Cole is the assistant administrative services director for the City of Forest Grove.