Published: February 29, 2012 7:24 PM
By MARK HARRINGTON NEWSDAY
The Village of Rockville Centre wants to raise electric rates by 17 percent this fall, an increase of around $200 a year.
But Long Island Power Authority ratepayers need not gloat: Rockville Centre’s rates are nearly half those of LIPA’s.
The village, which operates its own municipal electric service through an agreement for low-cost power from the New York Power Authority, cited operational costs in requesting the increase from the state Public Service Commission, which must approve the request.
Among specific reasons cited for the proposed increase: rises in employee pension contributions and in dental and medical costs, and debt service costs. The village said it hadn’t raised electric rates for eight years.
“We’ve been pretty good on rate increases and our rates are pretty low compared to other utilities,” said Jeff Kluewer, a spokesman for the village.
Rockville Centre bills its customers every other month, and related fuel costs can increase or decrease with each bill. LIPA adjusts fuel-related charges quarterly.
Rockville Centre customers pay about 11 cents per kilowatt hour for electric service, a 40 percent discount from the 19 cents paid by LIPA ratepayers. Rockville Centre is one of three Long Island municipalities that provides its own electric service. Greenport and Freeport are the others.
Kluewer noted that Rockville Centre performed well in responding to Tropical Storm Irene last summer. Only around 10 percent of its customers lost power, and 80 percent of them were restored to service on the Sunday the storm struck. He cited the village’s aggressive tree-trimming program.