The Long Island Power Authority's proposed budget for next year includes a 1.5 percent increase in customer bills, which would kick in March 1 of next year if the budget passes this December.
The 1.5 percent raise amounts to a $2.24 increase in monthly bills for the typical residential customer.
The raise is being proposed primarily because of a projected $52 million increase in property taxes and assessments for the company, LIPA said in a press release.
The budget also includes improved customer communications initiatives and extension of the Household Assistance Rate program.
One initiative is a new outage management system in which customers "will have the ability to report an outage by texting LIPA and have the ability to view and interact with the LIPA website on their mobile devices."
“While LIPA’s rates have remained relatively stable over the past four years, our residential customer’s energy usage continues to increase every year,” said Michael Hervey, chief operating officer. “The best way for our customers to lower their bills is to maximize energy efficiency and participate in LIPA’s efficiency programs."
LIPA customers were already socked with a 2 percent increase about a month ago to cover higher-than-expected fuel costs from the spring and early summer. And costs for the clean-up after Tropical Storm Irene may still come; the proposed 2012 budget does not includes cost recovery for 2011 storms.
Customers this summer were vocal in expressing their frustrations over what they said was the company's slow progress in restoring power after Irene.
The LIPA board of trustees is expected to consider the adoption of the budget at its Dec. 15 meeting, which is also open to the public.