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      Board of Light and Power rate increase lightens wallets

      Marquette residents who get their electricity from the city's Board of Light and Power will be paying more in 30 days. At Monday's City Commission meeting, the vote was six to one in favor of the BLP rate hike. Commissioner Sarah Cambensy was the only dissenting vote. It would amount to more than a 25 percent increase over three years, or 8.5 percent per year.

      The rate increase was first proposed three months ago, but commissioners tabled the vote until Monday, allowing customers time to prepare for the increase. The Board of Light and Power hasn't raised rates in about 30 years.

      "We can't overlook the fact that the Board of Light and Power did go out and hire a professional consultant to analyze their situation, and he came back and said, 'If you're going to be able to do the job that you want to do, continue to serve the community, continue to provide reliable power, to continue to be a low cost power provider, then you have to raise your rates to this level or you're not going to make it,'" said Commissioner Don Ryan.

      The Board of Light and Power says it needs the rate increase to pay for future projects, all aimed at ensuring the reliability of power in the city of Marquette.