Council discusses electric rates

By Cecilia Fox -

TIPP CITY — At their meeting Monday night, the Tipp City council heard the results of a cost of service study that examined the city’s electric utility service rates and recommended new, increased rates for city customers.

“As (the costs of purchasing power) go up, you want the rates your charging to your customers to reflect those costs in the power supply,” Don Gruenemeyer of Sawvel & Associates, who conducted the study, said during council’s study session.

According to Gruenemeyer, the current customer charges are lower than they should be when compared to the costs of purchasing power and maintaining facilities.

While Gruenemeyer said the monthly residential customer charge should be closer to $18 — it is currently $4 — he suggested a monthly charge of $10. Other consumers would also see changes, like an increase from $100 to $150 for large power consumers, and a $150 dollar increase for large power customers.

This change would also include adding the power cost to the customer charge, which would lower the monthly energy charge, he said.

The city has about 4,200 residential customers, 20 large power customers, and three or four industrial power consumers, Gruenemeyer added.

Council president Joe Gibson said that he is reluctant to raise rates on residential customers from $4 to $10.

“It’s like taxes, where is it going to end? You can make an argument to raise taxes of every day of the week,” Gibson said.

Councilman John Kessler argued that it would not be fair for the utility’s larger users to subsidize residential users, adding that it might deter business growth in the city.

“Our job as a body is to make sure that our systems and services that we provide are solvent and equitable and done correctly,” Councilwoman Carrie Arblaster said. “It just seems like we’ve been somewhat negligent in not assessing our rates in a proper fashion and so we’re really out of whack.”

As part of the Miami Conservancy District, the City of Tipp City was honored for its part in keeping the Great Miami River one of the healthiest waterways in the country.

During the meeting, Miami Conservancy District Manager Sarah Hippensteel-Hall announced to council that the Great Miami River Watershed Trail was recently named a National Water Trail System by the Secretary of the Interior in recognition of the National Parks Service’s 100th anniversary.

The national trail designation is only one of 22 in the U.S. and the only one in Ohio, Hippensteel-Hall said.

Council also honored clerk of council Janice Bates, who achieved her Master Municipal Clerk designation.

To achieve this designation, Bates first earned her Certified Municipal Clerks designation and participated in an advanced continuing education program.

In other business, council approved a contract with American Municipal Power for the purchase of solar power.

American Municipal Power will build, own and operate solar facilities in member communities. Tipp City has agreed to purchase 5 megawatts of power from this project, but will not be hosting a solar site.

The estimated cost for this project is $33 per megawatt hour for a 25 year term. Participation is expected to result in a slight reduction to the city’s overall power rate.

By Cecilia Fox

Reach Cecilia Fox at

Reach Cecilia Fox at