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Increase of 25% in electric rates OK'd by state

The state Public Service Commission on Wednesday granted the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities permission to raise electric rates by an average of 25 percent over the next three years.

The rate increase matches the one included in a joint agreement reached last spring between the Jamestown municipal utility and the PSC's staff. The new rate plan will increase rates by 14.3 percent Nov. 1, followed by compounded increases of 4.7 percent in November 2006 and 4.5 percent in November 2007.

The rate increase is the first for the Jamestown utility since 1994.

Even with the increase, the utility's customers will pay less than half of what Niagara Mohawk charges residential customers. The Jamestown utility's rates currently are about two-thirds less than NiMo's.

"Jamestown customers will continue to benefit from relatively low electric rates compared to customers of other utilities," William M. Flynn, the PSC's chairman, said in a statement.

The rate hike will increase the Jamestown utility's revenue by about $7.6 million over the three-year period.

The Jamestown utility initially had sought a rate increase of 32 percent, while the PSC staff first recommended 21 percent.

e-mail: drobinson@buffnews.com

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