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Duncan Power set to raise rates again

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DUNCAN, Okla._Many electric bills in Duncan are set to rise once again after the city says it's being forced to pass along higher premiums from power wholesalers.

Duncan Power customers can expect to see an eight percent increase on their bills as early as next month if the proposal is approved during Tuesday’s city council meeting. In that meeting, the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority, who fuels city-owned Duncan Power, is set to give a presentation to discuss the changes and how residents will be affected.

This time around, the rate increase is unfortunately larger than what residents saw back in November. Starting in June, customers can expect a nearly $7.00 increase each month on their bill. The city says that $7.00 increase is necessary to absorb the growing cost of natural gas and the deteriorating supply of hydro-power, thanks to the drought, just to name a few issues. Now many residents say they'll have no choice but to make some changes.

Brian Murphy owns two homes and a business within the City of Duncan and he says eight percent is just too much.

"Paying that much in utilities is going to get real tough, it fluctuates a little bit but not a lot, but with a full rate increase… that average is going to go up quite a bit I'm sure," said Murphy.

"With gas and food and everything getting higher I could it see it really affecting people," said Garrett Malone, a Duncan Power customer.

City Manager, Jim Frieda, says it was a perfect storm this spring when it came to power prices soaring.

"The biggest factor is the cost of natural gas has gone up considerably since 2012 and basically it's gone up almost double for us," explained Frieda.

Duncan has also suffered from not having any power fueled by water, something the city has relied on for decades.

"Also included in here is the cost to the OMPA to comply with emission control and they've spent $11 million on that and they're passing that cost on to their customers," Frieda says it's not his first choice to raise the rates, but he says it's important to the city.

"We use revenues from the sales of electricity and the sale of water to fund city services so it's extremely important."

As for Murphy, he hopes Duncan can find a compromise.

"Whatever it is, I hope something happens that can change it all to make them drop them again but yeah it's going to get tough."

The Duncan city council meeting will include a presentation by the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority Tuesday night at 5:15 at city council chambers.

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