The Kaplan City Council on Tuesday approved a resolution to offer levelized billing for customers who may see an increase in their April utility bills.
April is when many in the city will pay for gas and electrical usage from the February winter weather, and the mayor said bills could be higher partly because of the increase in demand and partly because of the stressed energy market during the storm.
According to the mayor, the price of those resources more than double's for the city's suppliers. Kloesel said at the meeting that the city had gas stored up in case of emergency, but used the entirety of its stockpile during the winter weather.
Kaplan's rates increased from .03 cents per kilawatt-hour to .11 cents per kilawatt-hour. The council voted for the city of Kaplan to absorb the unnatural one-time increase caused by the ice storm and bill customers at a normal rate. Customers will thus be charged the same rate per kilawatt-hour as they were in January.
Kloesel said language in the American Rescue Plan signed last week by President Joe Biden specified residential help in cities, meaning the city's utility fund, which Kloesel said is in "excellent shape," should be reimbursed when the city receives that federal funding. Kaplan is expecting more than $1 million, and the additional costs of utility bills due to the winter weather is estimated at a minimum $150,00, the mayor added.
The council approved the resolution unanimously.
The mayor said the city can afford to eat the increase, but adding there are many residents who may be struggling.
"If we were hurting, I'd say everybody's got to pay their fair share, but [residents have] been paying their fair share," Kloesel commented. "Maybe it's time we give our residents some relief."
The full meeting can be viewed below:
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