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Thurmont raises electric rates
 for first time in 11 years

Stephanie Mlot
Frederick News-Post

(10/5) The town passed a resolution to raise electric rates more than 6 percent, effective next year.

Thurmont electric rates have not been raised since 1999, which makes this $495,000 per year increase significant.

"We have been working on this for about four years," Mayor Martin Burns said at Monday's town meeting.

At about the same time as the increase, a wholesale rate reduction of about $800,000 per year will become effective.

The mayor and two commissioners voted in favor of the resolution; two board members were not present for the vote.

"Don't get excited," Commissioner Bob Lookingbill said during last week's workshop discussion. "Your electric bills aren't going to go through the roof."

In 2011, costs will average out, Chief Administrative Officer Bill Blakeslee said at the workshop. The first five months of the year the town will pay a higher purchase cost, while the last seven will bring a lower rate.

"We (have been living) on a shoestring budget for the last 10 years," Burns said Monday.

Since the raised rates coincide with the reduction, realistically, it will create a net decrease of 5 percent in overall electric rates, according to the mayor.

"I'm telling you up front, the power rate is going up, but the (power cost adjustment) rate is going down," he said.

Whether residents have electric heat, a heat pump or oil, Blakeslee suggests that when the weather gets cold, dial down the thermostat.

"We don't like hearing people complain about how much they're paying for electric," he said last week.

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