Electric rates won’t rise in Tupper Lake after all

TUPPER LAKE — An article in Thursday’s Enterprise incorrectly stated that the village’s electric rates would rise.

The village board on Wednesday approved a renewal of a contract with the New York Power Authority to authorize NYPA to purchase more power on the village’s behalf, but the rates customers pay will remain the same. Basically, the village and NYPA are making arrangements in case circumstances require rates to rise, but that is not anticipated at this time.

The Enterprise regrets the error.

Tupper Lake supplies residents with electricity on a municipal power system, meaning customers pay for electricity as a community through the village, which contracts NYPA to purchase electricity.

Village electric rates are set by NYPA and are made up of two charges: one fixed charge and a fluctuating “Purchase Power Adjustment” charge that is used when weather, politics or other current events cause additional costs.

During cold months, when residents heat their homes with electricity, they may use up the village’s allotment of hydroelectricity, the cheapest form of power offered. To keep the lights on, NYPA works similar to a stock broker, investing Tupper Lakers’ money in electricity from alternate sources such as nuclear, coal and natural gas.

“This [PPA] is a charge that can be imposed to recoup those unforeseen expenses,” said Marc Staves, superintendent of the village municipal electric department. The PPA charge is not needed now, however, he said.

In months when the charge is not imposed, customers may receive a credit from NYPA and any unused energy is sold to other municipalities.

“Lately, we’ve been giving out a lot of credits on the bills,” Staves said. “We’re not anticipating any changes in the PPA any time in the near future.”

The average fixed cost for residential Tupper Lake customers is 5.49 cents per kilowatt hour.