Electricity sales over the summer totaled a record 10 percent above the highest ever recorded sales for the city, he said. The temperatures this summer climbed into the high 90s each day, and many residents ran their air conditioning systems a great deal, he explained, driving expenses up.
As far as utilities rates go, Vickery said Calhoun remains highly competitive with other providers. He cited studies from independent sources to illustrate his point.
According to the Georgia Public Service Commission, Calhoun is the 14th lowest electricity distributor in the state.
Calhoun Utilities numbers are on par with those of Dalton Utilities, Vickery said. Dalton is listed by Jacksonville Electric Authority’s July 2011 quarterly electric rate study as having the fifth lowest electric rate out of 60 companies studied nationwide.
“That would make us either the fourth or sixth lowest,” Vickery said.
He also pointed out that Calhoun delivers comparable economic water rates, landing in the lower third portion of all water sales rates in Georgia, citing figures from GEFA (Georgia Environmental Finance Authority).
The city’s utilities rates, when matched to cost of services rendered, are comparatively low.
Calhoun’s combined utilities rates fall “below the green” zone in charts provided by GEFA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Vickery said this means the rates are low enough that they are probably not allowing for recovery cost for services.
“It’s not our desire, by any stretch, to make money off this community,” he said.
Vickery called the utilities department, which operates on a balanced budget, a “not for profit utility.”