A proposed power rate increase of 30 percent for the 17,000 customers of the City of Marquette’s Board of Light & Power (BLP) in the Upper Peninsula region of Michigan was approved on October 23.
According to the utility’s website, the new rate will increase the average residential customer’s monthly bill from about $58 to $76. However, the Board of Light & Power asserts, “Even with this rate increase, our new rates will still be considerably lower than our surrounding energy providers.”
The increase in cost – which will go into effect in October 2016 – is necessary to pay for the BLP’s construction of the new, $65 million Marquette Energy Center – which is anticipated to comprise three 17-megawatt (MW) environmentally clean reciprocating internal combustion engines (RICE) that will supply 51 MW of quick start, available at any time, power. The engines will burn natural gas as their primary fuel and will switch over to fuel oil when necessary.
“This is great for our community …. We’re going to be able to attract and retain business, and we’re going to have a lot of capacity and going to have a lot of reliability,” said MLB Executive Director Paul Kitti, in an interview with UpperMichiganSource.com.
The engines for the Marquette Energy Center are being manufactured in Italy by a company based in Finland. It’s expected they should be delivered next October. The BLP hopes to have the Energy Center up and running by Spring 2017.