Gardner City Council votes to give utility residential customers free month of electricity
During last night’s special meeting held by the Gardner City Council, councilmembers voted to eliminate the electric charges that were billed in March for residential customers and credit commercial customers for the use of their first 5000 KW/h of electricity. The city initially changed its rate structure for electric services at the start of the year, which already gave more than 82 percent of its customers a two percent reduction.
“We know we have residents who are financially struggling with bills and other obligations due to the impacts of COVID-19,” said Gardner Mayor Steve Shute. “We are fortunate that we own our utilities, so we can authorize these changes and provide this much welcome relief for all in our community while they wait for federal government assistance.”
Eliminating a month’s worth of billing expenses to residential customers and covering up to 5000KW/h of electricity for businesses will cost the city approximately $790,000 in lost revenue.
“Our city has a robust electric fund that can absorb this loss of revenue, and we’ve purposely kept it strong to address any unforeseen issues that may impact our electric service,” Shute said. “While we’re not using this money to pay for an infrastructure upgrade or replacement project, we are doing whatever we can to help our residents and businesses get through this unforeseen pandemic. This is a time we have to take care of one another and that should start with leadership.”
Residential and commercial customers will automatically receive an adjustment for their March billed electric charges.