Manassas city residents will pay higher rates for electricity during the summer and less during the winter under a new Manassas Electric Company rate schedule approved recently by the city council.
The new rates, which will show up on December electric bills, will be the same for those who live in all-electric homes and those who live in homes not heated by electricity. Until now, residents who lived in all-electric homes paid different rates than those who lived in homes not heated electri cally. Both of the old rate schedules were the same in summer and in winter.
According to electric company officials, the rate changes will affect customers in both types of homes.
"The present residential electric customer (one whose home is not heated by electricity) will be paying less in both winter and summer," according to Clyde D. Wimmer, the city's director of public works. People who live in all-electric homes "will have an increase in the summer and should have a slight decrease in the winter," he said.
Wimmer said the average residential customer (in a home not heated by electricity), who uses about 550 kilowatt hours of electricity each month, should see a decrease of 5.4 per cent in summer electric bills and a 14.5 per cent decrease during winter months.
Electric bills for people who live in all-electric homes and use an average of 1,500 to 2,000 kwh each month could increase 20.9 per cent in the summer and decrease 9.2 per cent in the winter, Wimmer said.
"Anybody in the city who uses a lot of air conditioning is going to have a higher bill." Wimmer said.
People who live in all-electric homes "are going to get hit" the hardest with electric bills during the summer, according to Wimmer. Most of the new, homes which are being built today in rapidly expanding Manassas are all-electric "because there's no other form of energy available," he said. In October, the Manassas Electric Company provided electricity for 525 all-electric households of the total 2,148 residential customers.
"We're trying to persuade people to do a little conservation during the summer time by hitting the pocketbook," Wimmer said.
Under the new winter-summer rate schedule, people who create a high demand for electricity during the summer months [WORD ILLEGIBLE] bear the financial burden for that demand, he said.
The Manassas Electric Company, distributor to most city residents, buys wholesale electricity from the Virginia Electric & Power Co.
"The rate we pay for electricity is determined by the demand set in July, August or September," said Frank Majewski, the city's data processing manager. Heavy demands during summer months "force our costs to increase for the remainder of the year," he added.
Last summer's peak demand for electricity was about 16,000 kilowatts, Wimmer said, and during the past October, "we were using somewhere around 6,000 kilowatts." The Manassass Electric Company had to pay "90 per cent of that highest use" even in the months when it wasn't being used, Wimmer said, and all customers helped pay for the increased costs all year long.
Under the new system, people who create a higher demand for electricity during the summer months will pay more at the time, and those who help keep the peak load down will pay less, he said.
The fuel adjustment charge that is listed on electric bills " is going to come way down" when the new rate schedule takes effect, Wimmer said, because "now it's built into the (base) rate." Although there will still be a fuel charge, "it should be minimal," he said.
Under the current rate structure all-electric houselholds are charged $19.46 for the first 600 kwh, and 2.1 cents per kwh after that. Residential households not heated by electricity are charged $24.26 for the first 600 kwh, and 2.46 cents per kwh after that.
In addition, all customers paid fuel adjustment charges that average about $23 in summer months and about $42 during winter months, Majewski said.
The new winter rate schedule (November through June) is $28 for the first 600 kwh: 3!22 cents per kwh for the next 99 kwh and 2.48 cents per kwh for electricity used in excess of 1,500 kwh.
The new summer rate schedule (July through October) is $8.68 for the first 100 kwh used; $5.16 for the next 100 kwh; 3.74 cents for each of the next 400 kwh used, and 4.75 cents per kwh for anything over 600 kwh.
Majewski estimated that the average fuel adjustment charge will now be about $4.69 during the summer and $12.06 during winter months.