TUPPER LAKE - Residents' electric bills here will continue to rise.
Municipal Electric Department Supervisor John Bouck explained that the village just received its January bill from the New York Power Authority. Even though the calculations are not yet complete, Bouck said a rate increase will be reflected in residents' February bills.
"We lag behind by about a month," Bouck said. "Your PPA (purchased power adjustment) will be quite high. We don't know yet exactly how much. We'll do our best to minimize the impact, but we have a bill to pay, too."
The PPA reflects the variance in the cost to produce and generate electricity above and beyond the base rate. Bouck said increased demand will likely cause that figure to skyrocket.
"We've been in contact with our association, and they've told us in January that the price of natural gas went up," Bouck said. "What was once $52 a megawatt hour went up to over $300 or $400 a megawatt hour. That's 40 cents per kilowatt hour that you have to buy on the market. That's how high the demand has gone up right now."
Bouck said the rash of below-zero temperatures this winter are responsible for the increased demand.
"This is a Tupper Lake issue, but it's also nationwide," Bouck said. "It's the whole East Coast, and portions of the South and Midwest. This whole polar vortex has really put a crunch on everyone."
Village Trustee Tom Snyder urged residents to contact the village office if they have problems paying their bills.
"We have payment plans," Snyder said. "If you can't make the payment, we can fit you into a payment plan so you can afford your electricity."
Bouck said he is also waiting to hear back from the state Power Authority on setting up an installment program.
Mayor Paul Maroun advised people to use as little power as possible to finish out the winter.
"I just want to say it again: Try and conserve wherever you can," Maroun said. "Power is expensive. We are still working to see what's going on here and what we can do."