NEWS

LES proposes rate adjustment

LINCOLN — After five years with no rate adjustment, the Lincoln Electric System Administrative Board’s Budget & Rates Committee proposed a budget that includes a 4.8% systemwide increase to 2023 retail electric rates during LES’ Administrative Board meeting today. The rate adjustment primarily is due to budgeted increases in power and transmission costs which are the costs to generate and deliver electricity to customers. LES has limited ability to influence these costs. 

An LES residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month on average will see an increase of approximately $5 on their monthly bill, or 4.8%, if the rate increase is adopted. Other rate classes would see increases varying from 3.9% to 6.1% based on the cost to serve each customer class. 

While net power costs are up $3.5 million and transmission costs are up $9.6 million, reductions in other operating expenses helped reduce the overall rate adjustment. “In addition to power and transmission cost increases, similar to other Lincoln businesses, LES is experiencing inflationary and supply chain pressures,” said Emily Koenig, LES vice president of Financial Services & chief financial officer. “While cost reductions were included in the proposed budget, it is necessary to implement a rate increase to fund overall increased costs.”

“It is a priority of LES to keep costs low for customers,” Koenig continued. “The 2023 rate increase will position LES to continue delivering safe, reliable and affordable service while keeping the average residential customer’s daily cost less than $3 per day.”

The total proposed 2023 budget of $331 million includes the operating budget of $276 million and the capital budget of $55 million. 

A public meeting on the proposed LES 2023 budget and rates will be held Oct. 4, 6-7:30 p.m. at the LES Operations Center, 9445 Rokeby Road in Lincoln. Customers can join virtually through a link, view materials and watch the meeting recap at LES.com/Budget. LES staff also will be meeting with customers and customer groups during October to provide information and receive feedback on its proposed 2023 budget and rates.

Board action on the budget is planned to occur at its Oct. 21 meeting. If approved by the LES Administrative Board, the proposed budget and rates will be considered by the Lincoln City Council at a public hearing in November. If approved, rate changes will become effective Jan. 1, 2023.

Business and residential customers can use LES’ online rate calculator to see an estimated bill with the proposed rate, found at LES.com/BillCalculator. Payment assistance options can be found at LES.com/FinancialAssistance or by calling LES at 402-475-4211. Financial incentives are available for residential and business customers making energy-efficiency improvements through LES’ Sustainable Energy Program, available at LES.com/SEP.