Garden City residents, businesses could see increase to electric bills

Meghan Flynn
Garden City Telegram
Digital electric meters run for a group of Garden City residences. Electric rates for residential and businesses could see an increase from the extreme cold snap earlier this year.

Garden City residents will see an increase in their electric bills. 

The exploration of a temporary one-cent increase was approved by the Garden City Commission at its regular monthly meeting to help pay off the costs associated with the February 2021 10-day extreme winter weather event. 

Residential customers could expect to see a $7 increase to their monthly bill while commercial accounts could expect a $50 increase.

A final decision will be made at the Commission's next meeting.

The 10-day winter weather event in February caused electricity and natural gas prices to surge, with the energy cost rising as high as $3,000 per megawatt hour, which generally cost in the $20-$40 per mwh range. 

It cost the city about $10.1 million over its typical monthly cost and was over 50% of the city's annual electricity cost. It was declared an emergency by the City Commission.

A low-interest loan was procured through the state of Kansas to cover the costs associated with the event which could be paid back over a 10-year period. Additionally, the city was approved for an energy only contract with NextEra Energy for 15 mwh for a 15-year period, which will lower the mwh charged to the city. 

Both the loan and contract can be paid back at any time without penalty.

Cost from the event vary from $0 to $2,173 for a residential customer and from $0 to $24,886 for a commercial account. Averaged across all residential accounts, each person would owe approximately $268 and each commercial account would be $4,806.

The Garden City Commission approved Garden City Public Utility to prepare the necessary action to implement the temporary, one-cent increase to the kwh rate in all electric billing classifications until the state of Kansas loan amount is recovered.