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ELECTRICITY BILLS TO INCREASE IN BOUNTIFUL AFTER JUNE ’95

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Homeowners will pay more for their electricity next year.

City leaders don't know exactly how much power bills will increase but say a small jump sometime after June 1995 will hedge against a giant leap in the next decade.The higher bills in the future will be directly related to the city's decision this week to draw power from a coal-fired power plant in New Mexico.

The city bought part of the plant last year for $5.8 million. Leaders want its electricity, which costs about 4 cents per kilowatt hour, to replace cheaper power they "rent" on the spot market.

Power manager Cliff Michaelis says the more expensive move is good management.

"Spot market power is becoming more and more scarce and therefore more expensive. We don't want to get stuck with having someone else dictate to us when we can get power and how much it will cost us," he said.

The New Mexico plant locks the price of the power for the city, he said. Officials expect to draw up to five megawatts per day, about 10 percent of what the city uses on a peak day.

A plan that would cut electricity production at Glen Canyon Dam on Lake Powell will also influence costs.

The federal government wants the dam to reduce fluctuations in downstream water flows, which destroy beach areas and wildlife habitat in the Grand Canyon, according to research that supports an environmental impact statement.

But the proposed reduction of flows, which power hydroturbines in the dam, would cut 400 megawatts of the dam's current 1,250-megawatt output. That means Bountiful could lose up to six megawatts, electricity it would have to buy elsewhere at higher costs.

The city joined 40 others in April to fight the plan by sending thousands of letters to residents urging them to oppose it.