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CPU Commission Approves Customer Power Cost Relief Plan

Leaders take action to address rising fuel costs on customer bills

Customers of Clarksdale Public Utilities are getting some relief on higher-than-normal electricity bills, thanks to a new plan passed this week by the CPU Board of Commissioners to lessen the impact of escalating fuel prices being charged by CPU’s suppliers.

“An important part of CPU’s mission is providing reliable utility services at the lowest reasonable cost,” said Adrian Allen, vice chairman of the CPU Board of Commissioners. “With that commitment in mind, we established the Customer Power Cost Relief Plan to address the financial burden being placed on customers due to rising fuel charges and higher power bills.”

Rising costs are everywhere—from the grocery store to the fuel pump to a long list of everyday needs. This trend also has affected the cost of electricity that CPU purchases, which has risen dramatically in the last two years.

The main factor driving up costs is the fuel charge that appears on customers’ bills. CPU does not profit from the fuel charge. Instead, it is a “pass-through” charge that CPU is required to collect from customers and pay directly to suppliers for fuel and transmission costs.

The fuel charge billed by CPU’s main electricity supplier for power purchased in June, which showed up on July bills, was 371% higher than June 2020. The transmission charge for July was 71% higher than the month before.

Another factor affecting customers’ bills is hot weather. As temperatures and heat indices rose well over 100 degrees in June, air conditioners worked overtime to cool homes and businesses. Unusually high fuel rates combined with high fuel usage resulted in extremely high bills for many customers.

“With record high temperatures across Mississippi, air conditioning is not just a luxury—it’s a matter of health and safety,” Allen said. “We knew it was time to take action and provide relief for individuals and families in our community, many of whom are struggling during these difficult economic times.”

As part of the Customer Power Cost Relief Plan, CPU will cap the fuel adjustment amount at .0267 per kilowatt-hour, a reduction of 50% from last month’s bill, for an indeterminate period. To cover the reduction in revenue over the coming months, CPU will apply all credits earned from its electricity supplier, Mississippi Delta Energy Agency. If credits are insufficient to cover reduced revenue, CPU will make up the difference by drawing from its reserve fund.

“CPU commissioners established the reserve fund several years ago to address challenges brought on by unanticipated events and circumstances, and we agreed that unusually high fuel charges qualified,” Allen said. “By establishing the Customer Power Cost Relief Plan, we are acting in the best interest of customers and providing relief on utility bills when it is needed most.”

CPU also offers customers a variety of convenient payment options and tips to improve efficiency and lower bills at https://www.cdpu.net/residential/save_money.phtml. For customers struggling to pay bills, CPU works out payment plans to help customers keep their accounts in good standing.

Clarksdale Public Utilities is a municipally owned utility serving approximately 6,800 homes and businesses in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Its mission is to safely provide sustainable electric, water and wastewater services in a reliable and courteous manner by well-trained team members, committed to top quality, efficient operations, competitive rates and the vitality of the community.

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For more than 120 years, Clarksdale Public Utilities has supplied utility services that support our community’s growth, vibrance and quality of life. But we are more than a provider of reliable and affordable electric, water and wastewater services — we are your family, friends and neighbors. We are people who care. We are CPU.

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