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Tony Cannon

GUC’s electric rate will remain unchanged in the coming fiscal year and an anticipated water rate increase will be lower than expected, according to the organization's proposed budget for the coming 2019-20 fiscal year.

Greenville Utilities Commission’s finance/audit committee reviewed staff’s proposed budget on Monday. It will be presented to the full board on March 21, which will then consider adopting the budget in April

The proposed budget is expected to generate $260 million in revenue and nearly $257.5 million in expenditures, generating equity of $2.5 million, said Tony Cannon, general manager/CEO.

The purchase of electricity and gas remain the largest expenditure. GUC is expecting the cost will be $148.4 million in the new fiscal year, which begins on July 1. Commission operations are expected to be nearly $69.4 million.

Several years ago the commission had agreed to five years of increases in its water and sewer rates to fund expansion and improvement projects at both treatment facilities.

The proposed water rate increase is 7 percent, which is sixth-tenths of a percent lower than what had been estimated as needed, Cannon said.

There will be no increase in the sewer rate in the coming year, even though staff initially planned for a 3 percent increase, Cannon said.

Although GUC is facing a wholesale rate increase beginning on April 1, it won’t be passed on to customers, Cannon said. Staff is recommending $2.6 million be transferred from a rate stabilization fund to cover the cost of the increase.

GUC established the electric rate stabilization fund after it and other eastern North Carolina communities sold their ownership in several generation plants to Duke Energy Progress.

Cannon said he anticipates using stabilization funds over the next six years to offset wholesale rate increases that are expected to occur during the same time period.

There will be no rate increase for natural gas, Cannon said. Proposed purchase gas adjustments in March and April will result in a 15.7 percent reduction the typical residential bill, he said.

The recommended budget also contains a 2 percent market adjustment in employee pay and a merit pay increase of 1.5 percent, Cannon said. Those figures may change once joint pay/benefits committee of the city and GUC finalize the amounts, he said.

Contact Ginger Livingston at glivingston@reflector.com or 252-329-9570.