A new Dover electric rate schedule that increases rates from zero to 13%, depending on the type of customer, was introduced to city council members at the May 27 utility meeting. The proposed rates, which would go into effect July 1, were approved by the committee and must now be reviewed by council.


    A schedule that increases Dover city electric rates from zero to 13%, depending on the type of customer, was introduced to city council members at the May 27 meeting of the council’s utility committee. The proposed rates, which would go into effect July 1, were approved by the committee and must now be reviewed by the full council. A public hearing on the issue will be held at the June 9 meeting.

    The proposed rate increases would raise the electric rate for the average residential customer by approximately 8%. For a typical household using 750 to 1,000 kilowatt hours, that translates into an additional $8 to $10 a month, depending on whether it’s a summer or winter month.

    The increases are being proposed after council was told overall electric operating expenses are expected to increase 7% in the upcoming fiscal year.
    Ted Kelly, a principal of Business & Technology Services at Burns & McDonnell, a consulting firm working with the city, said he’s been trying to match the cost of service to each customer type.

    “It’s a fairer way of charging them,” he said.

    For example, a transmission customer such as Dover Air Force Base draws power differently than a small commercial customer like a restaurant, and therefore should be charged accordingly.

    The current rates, which were implemented last July, aren’t as closely matched as the new proposed rates, said Terry Tieman, senior city administrator. This time, city officials broke the expenses down further.

    The primary customers such as Delaware State University or a large department store, however, likely won’t be seeing any rate increases at all. Kelly said this was due to the fact that under the new system of looking at costs, primary customers were charged more last year than they should have been.

    City officials also gave council members a comparison of the residential electric rates from surrounding communities. Dover fell exactly in the middle of the list of current rates. From least to most expensive were Delaware Electric Co-op, New Castle, Seaford, Newark, Milford, Dover, Delmarva Power, Middletown, Smyrna, Clayton and Lewes.

    Councilwoman Beverly Williams pointed out many of the municipalities who are members of the Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation also have plans to raise rates. Dover is not a member of DMEC.

    Councilman Eugene Ruane said he thought this year’s proposed increases were an improvement over last time, with Williams agreeing it’s now more equitable.

    Councilman James McGiffin thought the explanations for the varying rates were justified and well grounded.

    “I’m satisfied they are necessary and appropriate,” he said.

    Other proposed rate increases for non-residential customers are as follows: small commercial, 5% or an additional $18 to $28 monthly for a typical bill; medium commercial, 13% or an additional $92 to $138 monthly for a typical bill; large commercial, 11% or an additional $662 to $733 monthly for a typical bill; and transmission customers, 7% or an additional $9,215 to $10,735 monthly for a typical bill.