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Saturday, March 2, 2024
March 2, 2024

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Clark Public Utilities’ 2023 budget approved; rates to hold steady

By , Columbian staff writer

Despite inflation all around, rates for electricity and water from Clark Public Utilities are expected to remain steady next year.

The utility’s board of commissioners passed the annual budget for its electric, generating and water systems Tuesday morning.

“The fact that we continue to meet our growing community’s energy needs while on path to exceeding new state emissions reduction targets without raising rates since 2011 is a testament to the talents and competency of the people in this utility,” Nancy Barnes, board president, said in a statement to the press.

The utility operates under a zero-based budget system, meaning its income minus its expenses brings its ledger to zero at the end of the fiscal year.

The utility’s 2023 capital budgets include funds for upgrades, including $82.2 million in the combined electric and generating systems budget for substation, transmission and distribution line construction and upgrades, and improvements to the generating system.

An additional $15.7 million for the water system capital budget will include funds for upgrades to meters, reservoirs and the water main.

The electric operating revenue budget is expected to be $411.9 million, compared to $395.1 million in 2022. The biggest chunk of that is power supply, which is $248.6 million. It’s risen by $4.8 million since the previous year.

The utility’s operating and maintenance budget is $72.7 million; it was $66 million in 2022. Just over 60 percent of the costs in that budget are labor while 26 percent are contracted services.

Remaining funds in the electric operating revenue budget go toward taxes, debts, rate-funded capital projects and energy-efficiency programs.

The water system’s operating revenue budget is $21.9 million, with 42 percent of that going to debt service and 41 percent going toward operations and maintenance.

The budget also included several tax credits, such as Operation Warm Heart, weatherization-related repairs and emergency heat repair and replacement. It also included more funding for the utility’s Community Grant Program.

The utility brings power to more than 228,000 customers and water to about 40,000 customers in Clark County.