The purchase power adjustments were particularly high this winter due to unusually high rates for natural gas and natural gas-generated power, Lotkowictz said.
One way to lower the additional costs associated with purchase power, is for everyone to lower their own usage, Trustee Carol Stokes-Cawley said.
“We all need to use less power,” Trustee Jim Lanning said in agreement, adding that school districts, though limited by tight budgets, should look into initiatives to conserve energy.
Lotkowictz also addressed concerns that the Skaneateles YMCA’s addition to village power was the primary reason for bill increases this winter.
“You can’t attribute one customer to raising everybody’s rates because everybody used more electricity,” he said.
Lanning asked if there was precedent elsewhere in the state for municipal electric companies adding additional classifications to its tariff.
Lotkowictz said that before proposing a change in the rates or tariff structure to the state, the village would need to pay to bring in engineers and other consultants to do a study on the pros and cons. They would need to make sure that a change to the tariff would benefit everyone and would not unfairly target one particular customer or group of customers, he said.
The village is also in the process of evaluating its infrastructure and capital needs to come up with a 20-year plan for replacements and upgrades, a process which could include a discussion about rate changes, Lotkowictz said.
In other business:
--The board held a public hearing on the tentative operating budget.
Among other questions, resident Andy Ramsgard asked if the board would make questions and hold a hearing to answer questions on the electric department budget. Mayor Marty Hubbard said that the electric department is an “enterprise budget” that is not a part of the same review and approval process as the general fund. The electric fund is reviewed by the municipal board, whose meetings are open to the public, Hubbard said.