PSO Customers Will Soon See Higher Electricity Bills

Monday, February 18th 2013, 7:12 pm

PSO customers will see their electricity bills increasing next month. It's in part because PSO bills were lower than usual for the past year.

For the last year, PSO customers have had a little bonus in their bills, a rebate from past overcharges. That's run out, so the bills are going up.

PSO generates some electricity and buys the rest, but no matter how they get it, PSO says the costs are going up, so their customers will soon pay more.

PSO blames mainly the increasing cost of natural gas and higher transportation costs for coal.

"All of those things combined go into the formula to adjust the fuel factor back to 2011 levels," said PSO spokesman Stan Whiteford.

The price that PSO customers pay for fuel is stabilized. It changes only once a year based on a forecast. Since the cost of fuel changes all the time, your bills at home might be on the high or low side.

1/9/2013 Related Story: PSO, Consumer Group Dispute Over Proposed Rate Hike

Two years ago, customers paid too much, so for the last year, everyone has gotten a refund and paid less than cost. Now, the bills are going back to reality, matching what PSO expects they'll have to pay.

"A few years back, we had five consecutive reductions in the fuel cost factor when gas prices were going down, because by law, we're not allowed to make any money on fuel, so whatever we pay for fuel gets passed along," Whiteford said.

A customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours a month pays $77.41 now. Next month, the same amount of power will cost $89.11.

PSO is encouraging customers to look for savings through energy efficiency. They offer rebates for some efficiency measures that can offset the costs of home improvements, such as extra insulation and new windows.

"Those are all things that people are using to save money, and it's making a big difference right now," Whiteford said.

PSO points out that even with this increase, their rates are still below average for the state.