Rate study analyst warns Trenton City Council against reduction of electric rates

Electric Power Lineman

An official with a consulting company that analyzes utility rates told the City Council last night that no changes are recommended. But he also warned against thinking of reducing electric rates any more than they have been.

Craig Woycheese is the senior rate analyst for Toth and Associates which was commissioned by the city to study electric rates. He made a visual presentation via the Zoom application which accompanied the written “cost of service” study.

For the year that ended April 30th of 2019, the study reviewed electric system revenues and expenses regarding service to residential, commercial, and industrial customers. It noted the electric department had an operating margin of $,158,175 on revenues that exceeded $8,661,300. For the 2020-21 fiscal year, the operating margin is projected by Toth to be $493,537 with further reductions in future years.

On an average basis, Trenton last year had the 53rd lowest rates out of 74 providers in Missouri. However, based on present rates, Trenton improved to the 39th lowest. Woycheese presented charts comparing Trenton to Bethany, Chillicothe, Macon, and Marshall – described Trenton as right in the middle as far as rates are concerned.

The consultant recommended that TMU maintain its present rates for the foreseeable future, and not lower rates. This, he said, allows Trenton to pay for the five-year capital plan, make annual debt service payments while maintaining its cash position. Last August, the council chose Toth for the rate study not to exceed $18,000.