ALTUS, OK (KSWO) - If you live in Altus, you'll soon be seeing an increase in your electricity bills.
The increase has been in the works for more than a year and was officially approved by the Altus City Council at Tuesday night's meeting.
Starting January 1st, the average Altus household will see an electric bill increase $3.85 per month.
From there, Altus Mayor Jack Smiley said there will be a slight increase in rates for each of the next five years.
"What has happened in the past with many cities is your wholesale rate goes up a percentage point and you go well we can eat that this year, we just won't do anything. But then you end up four or five years down the road and you've done this time and time again and you find out you need to go up 12 or 15 percent," Smiley said.
Smiley said that happened to Altus a few years ago and they were forced to hike the prices by about 7 percent at one time, which they want to avoid in the future.
Smiley said the city hired a consulting firm to come in and analyze their electric rates. They found that the city's wholesale price for electricity is going up nearly two percent in 2018. That means the city is not making any money by raising the price, they're simply making sure they don't lose money.
"At year three we will go back and look at them again. We'll have the same consultants look at the actual costs and actual costs of health insurance and things you don't think about like upkeep on our system and see if we actually are staying up with our increased costs. Maybe we need to go up slightly more, maybe we are ahead of the game and we can actually reduce our rates," Smiley said.
The new plan was originally supposed to go into effect in October but it was postponed until January 1st.
"That's the time of year everyone's electric bill is down. In the winter even though $3.85 is your average, in the winter it's probably only $1.50 that will be implemented in the middle of the winter so most people will not feel this at all," Smiley said.