Originally created 01/31/98

Utility plans to lower rates by $12 to $15



AIKEN -- Aiken Electric Cooperative will reduce its annual rates by $12 to $15 per average customer starting March 1.

The cooperative's board of trustees voted Jan. 22 to cut $500,000 from its annual rate base. The cooperative will pay for it by cutting costs, said Gary Stooksbury, chief executive officer.

"We'll be scaling back some operations and reducing our operating cost," he said.

The cooperative last reduced its rates in April 1996, when it removed another $500,000 from its rate structure.

The cooperative's last rate increase was in April 1992. The utility said it has absorbed wholesale power cost adjustment charges since June 1993 from its power supplier without passing on the expense to consumers.

"Market conditions continue to change in our industry, and we are determined to be the low-cost provider of power in our region and we will continue to strive to be the most efficient competitor in all aspects of our business," Mr. Stooksbury said.

Aiken Electric serves about 35,000 customers in nine counties. Most of the customers are residential.



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