HES raises its rates for electricity

By on Wednesday, October 13th, 2021 in Columbia Basin News Columbia Basin Top Stories

HERMISTON – Electric rates for Hermiston Energy Services are rising by 6.8 percent this month. That follows a 6.98 percent increase in October 2020. The increases became necessary because of the rising cost of purchasing electricity from the Bonneville Power Administration.

“We may build up a reserve for a few years and then, as Bonneville Power and other expenses rise, we operate at a deficit for a few years,” Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan said. “When the pandemic hit in early 2020 the decision was made not to seek any action yet on HES rates because at that time everything was unknown.”

Morgan said towards the end of 2020 it was clear that there would have to be rate adjustments. The utility wanted a 13 percent rate adjustment, but the city decided to split it up into two rate hikes. Over the past four years, the Bonneville Power Administration has increased the cost of power by 18 percent.

The average residential customer will pay $124 in October. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates the average electric bill for residential customers in the month of October is $176.