Michael J. Sorba, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/29/2010 06:09:52 PM PDT

COLTON – Customers of the Colton Electric Utility may soon be delivered cheaper power as the City Council looks to reform electric rates.

An ordinance allowing profits the utility generates to be passed through to help pay for general city services may also become more clearly defined.

“The of the main reasons our (electric) rates are so high is the maintenance and operation costs at Agua Mansa (power plant)are outrageous,” Councilman Richard DeLaRosa said. “The citizens aren’t paying for reliability or future improvements, they’re paying for the Agua Mansa plant.”

On Wednesday the council was presented with an audit of the utility, which reported most customers pay more for electricity than customers of Southern California Edison and 10 surveyed Southern California jurisdictions that own utilities.

It costs about 44 percent more to generate power at the Agua Mansa power plant than to buy power on the market from other providers, the audit says.

It suggests the council consider rebidding the plant’s operating contract, have city employees run it instead of contract employees or sell it to lower the utility’s costs.

The council unanimously directed city staff to look at the viability of introducing more customer tiers, increasing the lowest tier from 200 kilowatt hours of usage for a month to 500 kilowatt hours per month in an attempt to lower the customers’ costs.

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