The Lincoln Independent Business Association (LIBA) would like to express its support for the 2015 Lincoln Electric Systems (LES) budget which does not increase electric rates.
In seven of the past ten years LIBA has testified before the LES Board and the City Council asking that rate increases be reduced or eliminated. Electric rates affect every aspect of life in Lincoln, from household budgets to businesses’ bottom line. Large employers are especially price sensitive. For these organizations even the smallest percentage increase can equate to hundreds of thousands of dollars. For example, in 2012, an effective rate increase of 3.5% resulted in Veyance, a Lincoln employer with over 550 employees, paying an additional $150,000.
For the upcoming budget year the LES board made tough decisions and prioritized maintaining electric rates in their 2015 budget. Weighing the needs and wants of an entire organization is never an easy task but LES rose to the challenge. LIBA would like to thank LES and the LES Board for its efforts to maintain rates for all Lincoln’s ratepayers.
As LES works to add renewables to its energy portfolio LIBA supports the reasoned approach used by LES in developing its Sunshares program. This program empowers ratepayers with the means and desire to expand renewables in Lincoln while recognizing the fiscal constraints confronting others. The Sunshares program is a prescient example of balance, allowing Lincoln ratepayers to work toward a more sustainable future without placing the burden on many who can ill afford it. LIBA encourages LES to continue to promote this program and this program model as it diversifies its energy portfolio.
Finally, LIBA would encourage LES to work closely with the City of Lincoln while developing plans for a south Lincoln Service center. Currently, both the Lincoln Police Department and Lincoln Fire and Rescue are looking for new south Lincoln locations. There may be opportunities for LES and Lincoln’s public safety departments to work together and recognize efficiencies in locating and building facilities.
In sum, LIBA would like to thank LES and the LES Board for the lengths to which it goes to provide Lincoln with affordable and reliable energy, to engage members in supporting new programs and to prioritize needs to avoid a rate increase in 2015.