While residential water rates will see a 10 percent increase beginning in October, which was approved in the Public Service Commission (PSC) Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday, PSC officials are saying that customers will see a $3.68 minimum decrease in electricity costs per 1000 KWH to offset the average residential customer's $3.46 minimum increase on his water bill. The average amount of water usage for residential customers is 6,000 gallons per month.
Upon PSC Manager Jimmy Wever's advice, the commissioners approved not charging customers an energy cost adjustment in August and September.
According Wever, the 10 percent increase in water rates is due to the increased costs of maintaining water lines. While PSC spent $243,000 in water line maintenance in 2015, the cost has escalated to a projected $480,000 in 2016.
Unless some action is taken, Wever said the loss would be the same or greater in FY2017. He also noted that water rates had not increased in five years.
In October, the ECA will be set at $9.20 per 1,000 KWH, which is $3.68 less per 1000 KWH than this year's ECA.
In other PSC business, the commissioners:
Took no action toward the removal of alligators from the wastewater treatment plant. In an earlier meeting, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Officer Rusty Odum advised PSC that “if they're not a nuisance or a threat, leave them alone,” Wever said. “We could take them and relocate them, but there's some kind of scent trail that others will follow, and something will replace (the ones we relocate).”
“What does that mean 'not being a threat',” asked PSC Chairman Dr. William Nelson. “To me, that's a threat by their just being there. Does he have to come out the water with his mouth open (to be a threat)?”
Wever said the PSC employee assigned to the treatment plant “has no problem with them.” He added that alligators are useful in that they eat many of the animals that could cause problems at the plant, including rodents, beavers, and turtles.
Approved a bad debt writeoff of $6,531.12 for April disconnects.
Set 5 p.m. Sept. 6 as the time for the FY2017 budget's public hearing.
Heard PSC Engineer Wayne Morrison report that the Yazoo City Board of Mayor and Aldermen decided Aug. 8 to not open the Willie Morris Parkway until “we could get some grass under control out there.” He said there are two main things left to the done on the parkway: grassing on the east end and the striping. Explaining that the contractor had been slow about completing the parkway, Morrison said he has been paying late penalties since April.
“What (Walmart) is doing out there right now is they're doing the underground utilities,” Morrison continued. “They're putting in the water and the sewer to the convenience store and to the building.”
He said workers should begin pouring the foundation and erecting Walmart's building “soon.”
Heard Wever say that solar-powered street lights on the parkway may be cost prohibitive.
“My gut feeling right now is I think it's going to be too expensive,” he said.
Morrison said it appears that solar-powered street lights may prove to be three times more expensive than conventional lighting.
“We're trying to price it on something that we know is going to work,” Wever said. “We've had some comments about some other locations that installed solar lights that didn't put out the output that was needed.”