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updated: 3/20/2014 5:05 PM

Naperville still mulling electric rate increases

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Naperville electric rates are likely to increase two years in a row beginning May 1, but the city council has not made a final decision about just how much the increases will be.

Council members discussed the proposed rate increases -- 6 percent on May 1 and 7 percent May 1, 2014 -- during a meeting Tuesday night but did not bring the topic to a vote.

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The proposed changes would apply to residential and commercial customers, although the utility's 20 largest customers would be charged different rates based on when they use electricity. The move also would eliminate an electric infrastructure fee charged on new developments, which the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce called an "impediment to economic growth and business investment."

City officials have said electric rate increases are necessary to help decrease a budget shortfall in the city-owned electric utility that is projected to be $14 million in the red by the end of next month. The utility has been losing money because several economic factors have caused the cost of buying power to exceed amounts predicted in a study that helped Naperville set electric rates.

If the council votes to increase rates 6 percent this May and 7 percent next May, the electric utility's budget deficit is projected to decrease to $5.2 million by the end of April 2016.

The council is expected to vote on electric rate increases during its next meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 1, in the municipal center, 400 S. Eagle St.

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