Utility costs in Lompoc are about to increase for the first time in over a decade.
Nearly 45,000 people who live in Lompoc are about to see their electric bills go up by an average of 30 percent in a matter of weeks.
The cost of keeping the lights on is about to go up, and it’s the largest utility rate increase in the City of Lompoc since 2011.
The Lompoc City Council approved the rate increase on Tuesday night.
“I was flabbergasted. Just the cost of living these days is so high. You go from grocery shopping to your bills. I barely make enough just to live, and I have two kids,” said Aleca Bertone, who lives in Lompoc.
“I’m kind of disappointed--barely getting above our means with everything going up with prices. So, it was kind of sad to hear that,” added Lompoc Resident Denise Chavez.
The average person can expect their electric bill to go up by an average of $17 per month.
The cost increase climbs to an extra $132 a month, on average, for businesses and commercial operations.
“The city took a lot of variables into consideration including the amount of inflation that has occurred since the last rate increase,” said Christie Donnelly, Management Services Director for the City of Lompoc.
Donnelly adds that the emergency rate increase was driven by a recent and sudden spike in electrical costs.
“We’ve seen an increase in those costs over the past year, especially in the last few months. In addition, there’s been increased volatility in the markets,” she explained.
People who live in Lompoc say they are being stretched thin by rising costs on just about everything.
“Everything is going up. Gas prices are going up. Food’s going up, rent’s going up--you name it. Your dollar amount that you work for isn’t moving,” said Bertone.
The city has hired an outside consulting firm to study rising electric costs and report back to the city council in about a year.
“There is no way to know, at this point, what those recommendations will be because it will be driven by the data,” said Donnelly.
The city is hoping to lessen the financial burden for residents by offering flexible payment programs.
“We have generous payment plans and we encourage everyone to work with us because we want to support our customers,” said Donnelly.
The rate increase takes effect on May 1st so you can expect a higher electric bill in June.