The price Rock Hill pays for electricity is rising.
How much that increase will affect local utility rates likely will be discussed at noon today during a City Council work session. More specific discussions about rates will happen as part of the city's budget talks in April and May, Assistant City Manager Jimmy Bagley said.
The city gets its power from the Piedmont Municipal Power Agency. The agency recently announced its wholesale rate will rise 6.7 percent. Last year, the rate increased 6 percent.
The city could pass along the entire rate increase to customers, Bagley said. Another option is a smaller increase in rates accompanied by other cuts to the utility budget such as deferring projects, he said.
Coleman Smoak Jr., the agency's general manager, said the wholesale increase is because of the increased cost of operating the Catawba Nuclear Station on Lake Wylie.
"There are some midlife maintenance issues," Smoak said. The reactor began operations in 1985. It license was recently extended to 2043, Smoak said.
The Piedmont Municipal Power Agency has a 25 percent interest in Unit 2 at the Catawba Nuclear Station. Duke Energy operates and fuels the nuclear plant.
"Projects currently under way at Catawba include the cleaning and replacing of service water piping, upgrading the control room from analog to a digitized system, and various regulatory-required projects," Smoak said.
PMPA provides electricity to Rock Hill, Abbeville, Clinton, Easley, Gaffney, Greer, Laurens, Newberry and Union.
Factors such as the number of customers, peak power usage and amount of electricity each locality needs affect local rates, Smoak said. Each member city will see a different effect on its rates, he said.