Estes Park Town Hall

Customer participation encouraged

To ensure continued high-quality utility services and plan for future upgrades through capital improvement projects, the Town of Estes Park periodically reviews the cost of providing services as well as projected revenue - the rates paid by customers. The Town's public electric utility is a cost-based entity that relies solely on user fees to operate. Costs and revenues must be balanced in order to maintain operations and keep utilities in line with ever-increasing federal standards and customer expectations. Rate studies also ensure equitable rates among customer classes, so that one customer class does not subsidize another.

Customers are encouraged to review the rate study report and the proposed rates and determine how the rates will affect their future bills and overall expenses. The report and proposed rates can be viewed at www.estes.org/electricrates. Customers can also review this information in the vestibule outside the Police Department entrance at Town Hall, and at the Estes Valley Library. To reduce the immediate impact on customers, rate gradual increases to occur beginning with usage in January of 2021, in January of 2022, and again in January of 2023.

Upcoming public meetings will include electric rate discussions. Visit www.estes.org/boardsandmeetings for date confirmation and complete meeting details:

• August 25: Town Board Public Hearing to review draft rate plan and potential adoption of new rates. However, a request for a continuation of the public hearing and vote at the September 8 Town Board meeting will be submitted.

• September 8 (tentative): Final public hearing and potential adoption of new rates

Customers are encouraged to attend or watch the live stream or recordings of these meeting and may submit written comments to the Town Clerk beginning August 19, 2020 using the public comment form at dms.estes.org/forms/

townboardpubliccomment or emailing townclerk@estes.org.

The last electric rate studies were conducted in 2016 and 2010-2011. Another rate study was postponed due to the 2013 flood, when the Town opted to maintain its rates through the first phases of flood recovery.

Municipal electric utilities like the Town of Estes Park involve two major operations - the distribution of electricity and capital improvements to the system. Power and Communications maintains a list of capital improvement projects which will improve service reliability and quality. Many of the projects replace old infrastructure with our current standards to meet today's higher demand for electric power using more robust products.

a) Power and Communications will construct smart grid infrastructure in parallel with the broadband installation. Smart grid modernizes our electric grid to enable increased renewable energy resources.

b) Older power poles and overhead lines are being upgraded with insulated tree cable to increase wildlife protection, increase power quality, reduce power outages and wildfire risk.

c) Power and Communications will continue the deployment of smart meters. More smart fuses will be installed across the electric system to increase reliability and reduce the number of power outages. Electric rates do not support Trailblazer broadband, although our smart grid system (smart fuses and smart meters) requires a fiber network. Electric rates will fund only the smart fiber portion needed for the electric system.

d) Power lines in the Allenspark area of Skinner and Ski Roads will be replaced with insulated tree cable to increase wildlife protection, increase power quality, and reduce power outages and wildfire risk.

For more information on the electric rate study, please contact the Utilities Department at 970-577-3588 or

ksterling@estes.org. More information is available at www.estes.org/

electricrates.

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