MIAMI, Okla. – Miami residents will see an additional $4 to $6 charge on utility bills beginning in June, city officials announced Wednesday.

The increase is to offset a $2.7 million debt owed to the Grand River Dam Authority for wholesale power used during the Feb. 2021 winter ice storm. The storm brought snow, ice, and extremely cold temperatures to the region causing record winter power demand and impacting power generation.

GRDA resorted to buying natural gas to help meet the power generation needs. Natural gas prices peaked at a record high during this devastating winter storm from $2.85 per dekatherm to  $1,100 per dekatherm.

Miami’s utility bills include electric, sewer, water, and trash services on the same bill. The charge is not a utility rate increase, but an added line-item charge.

“The idea is to spread this out to lessen the impact to our utility customers,” said Bo Reese, Miami City Manager in a prepared statement. “This is something we have agonized over for months because we know this could greatly affect our customers.”

The Miami City Council and Miami Special Utility Authority approved the temporary ordinance on Monday.  The ordinance becomes effective May 4 and will remain on utility billing for approximately three to four years until the amount owed to GRDA is recovered.

Results of rate comparisons show the City of Miami’s electric utility rates are quite competitive, said Melinda Stotts, Miami Communications Manager.

“It’s hard to compare utility rates because each municipality and service bills differently, and they’re so many factors that go into it,” said Tyler Cline, Miami’s Public Utilities Director.

According to another electric rate comparison completed by Municipal Electric Systems of Oklahoma, Miami Public Utilities ranks eighth lowest of 23 municipalities ranked.