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City light customers should see lower bills

February 09, 1999|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Hagerstown Light Department charges have dropped to a 15-year low, which means average customers will pay about $60 less in 1999 than they did last year, department Manager Terry Weaver said Monday.

The lower charge is the result of a new electricity purchasing contract with Allegheny Power, which the City Council approved in June.

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Overall, bills for the approximately 17,000 Light Department customers will be almost 12 percent lower this year. The average customer using 700 kilowatt hours of electricity will see his or her monthly bill decrease from about $42 to almost $37, Weaver said.

Weaver said he expects the charges for city Light Department customers will stay about the same until the contract with Allegheny Power expires on June 30, 2003.

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The contract was shared with groups of customers in Williamsport, Thurmont, Md., and Front Royal, Va.

Government officials from those municipalities said their electric customers would also see their rates decrease.

Rates for Williamsport customers are expected to decrease by about 6 percent, said Donna Spickler, town clerk-treasurer .

The extent of the rate decreases for Williamsport and Front Royal was unknown.

Deregulation of the electric industry allowed the municipalities to solicit competitive bids from companies interested in selling electricity.

Allegheny Power's bid beat out three other proposals, Weaver said.

In the end, Light Department customers, who already were charged less than regular Allegheny Power customers, realized more savings.

The city Light Department buys electricity from Allegheny Power in large quantities on a bulk rate charge.

This means that the city, and in turn city Light Department customers, pays less for their electricity than Allegheny Power's regular residential customers, who pay a more expensive retail electric rate, company spokeswoman Debbie Beck said.

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