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No Hike in Electricity Rates Expected This Year for Oxford Customers

Oxford Utilities presented its $23 million budget for the electric department’s 2022 fiscal year to the Oxford Board of Aldermen Tuesday for its consideration.

In the proposed budget, presented by Superintendent Rob Neely, Oxford Utilities-Electric Division estimated total spending of $23,024,411, offset by expected revenues of $23,062,485.

The electric department’s largest expense, 74.3 percent of its budget, is purchased power from the Tennessee Valley Authority.

The TVA announced last year that there would be no wholesale rate increase for 2021 and that they anticipated flat rates for a period of 10 years.

For OU-ED customers, that means their electric rates won’t be going up this year.

“OU will not be requesting any local rate action for Fiscal Year 2022,” Neely said.

Highlights fo OU-ED in 2020-2021 included transitioning to a new customer portal and phone apps for customers to pay their bills and see their electric usage. The city completed overhead-to-underground utility relocations in News Hill Cove, Joel Lane and other areas off College Hill Road.

“More were planned but were slowed down due to the pandemic,” Neely reported.

OU-ED is currently in the midst of a multi-year LED Streetlight project in which it is replacing every street light with an equivalent LED fixture.

“We’ve replaced approximately three quarters of the street lights to date,” Neely said.

The savings so far to the city is over $4,000/month in energy usage.

As of March 31, OU-ED serves 9,843 electric customers with 7,997 residential, 1,644 small commercial businesses, 217 medium commercial businesses, one large commercial business, 18 streets and athletic customers and 41 lighting installations.

OU-ED saw a 1 percent increase in customers in the last year.

The fiscal year for OU-ED runs from July 1 to June 30, so its budget is reviewed by the Board of Aldermen before other departments. For most other city departments, the fiscal year runs from Sept. 30 to Oct. 1.

Other department heads will begin presenting their budgets to the Board of Aldermen for review in June. The final FY 2022 city budget must be approved by Sept. 15.

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