Residents and businesses across McPherson will see a slight increase in their electricity bills starting on April 1.

Residents and businesses across McPherson will see a slight increase in their electricity bills starting on April 1.

Tim Maier, McPherson Board of Public Utilities general manager, reported to city commissioners on Monday that transmission rates for McPherson will increase by $2.98 a month for residential homes, going from the current rate of $67.69 per 1,000 kilowatt hours to $70.67 per 1,000 kilowatt hours.

Maier said the increase in charges is mostly due to more investment in the Southwest Power Pool region, which Maier said increases the efficiency of transmission systems and has cheaper energy costs.

Maier said the cost increases are also due to a formula tariff used by Westar Energy, which is adjusted annually to reflect current costs. The tariff is approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which mandates by law all users of a transmission pay for the system.

Maier said the annual adjustment to Westar’s tariff is what affects the Board of Public Utilities’ change in rates.

“It’s beyond our control, really,” he said.

Maier said the Board of Public Utilities has to adjust its current rates to match the annual adjusted tariff to reflect current costs.

“We’re required like everyone else to pay our part,” Maier said.

Actual transmission costs for 2011 were reported to be a total $6,046,122. Projected costs for 2013 are a total $6,530,549.

In other business:

• Tim Maier also reported that a new billing software is expected to go live for the month of April. The software will change the billing format for BPU, making it easier for customers to note particular charges.

• Samantha Robinson, with Family Video, was approved to use lakeside and wall park for a 5K run/walk. The event will be used to raise money for cancer research. Police Chief Rob McClarty expressed concerns of participants crossing Kansas Ave. during the trek. Participants will be expected to obey stop sign regulations, and police will have nearby patrols. The event will take place on March 30.

• Mandy Martin, with the McPherson Public Library, was approved to use Wickersham Park from June 7 to the early morning of June 8 for an opening event of the Summer Reading Program.

• Police Chief Rob McClarty was approved $1,906.60 for the repair of a patrol car. The car reportedly got damaged by striking a large bobcat. The accident happened when Assistant Chief Terry was driving back from training.

Joseph Tuszynski can be reached at, or follow him on twitter @JoeTSentinel.