Dear Councilmembers Jennie Robinson and Bill Kling:
With regard to the Huntsville Utilities proposed rate increase for electric service, HUNTSVILLE SOUTH requests that you vote NO to the proposed increases. The Huntsville Utilities website currently lists the availability fee as $8.88. Their proposed increase to be effective May 1st of $2.50 represents a 29% increase in this fee. Adding another $2.40 in October will increase this percentage to 56%. A 56% increase in ANY fee is ridiculous.
For years Huntsville Utilities has been asking Huntsville customers to become more energy efficient and to conserve energy by recommending using newer technology like LED lights, energy saving appliances, replacing doors and windows. From the articles in the media of Mr. Stowe’s comments, it appears the citizens of Huntsville has taken Huntsville Utilities advice. One of Mr. Stowe’s arguments to raise the utility fee is that usage is down. Isn’t that what Huntsville Utilities has been asking us to do all these years; conserve? So what good does conserving usage do if the people are going to see their rates increase anyway?
We have already seen an increase in water rates that have been phased in since 2012. That increase resulted in an approximate 50% increase for sprinkler water and 62% increase for water. Mr. Stowe stated that by increasing the utility fixed rates on the citizens of Huntsville it will save citizens money since the increase will cause citizens to conserve more and thus stabilize variable rates. Will this increase stop what seems to be an annual increase in fees to cover the adjustment increases from TVA for fuel costs? Rates went up in 2014 and 2015 due to TVA adjustment increases.
Huntsville Utilities has asked the citizens of Huntsville to conserve and become more efficient in our use of utilities. Mr. Stowe has clearly indicated that has happened. We suggest that instead of a rate increase, Huntsville Utilities work to become more efficient and reduce their expenses.
Please vote NO to this proposed rate increase.
James D. Brown
HUNTSVILLE SOUTH Civic Association