SHREWSBURY, Mass. - Shrewsbury Electric and Cable Operations' cable customers will see their bill go up, after Selectmen unanimously voted Tuesday to accept the utility's proposed increase.
The good news, SELCO says, is that the decrease in electric rates will more than offset the cable rate increase for the average consumer.
Basic cable rates will increase $1.17 a month, from $16.68 to $17.83. Expanded basic customers will see a total increase of $2.80 a month, and will now pay $42.72.
According to SELCO General Manager Michael Hale, programming costs have risen and the utility needs to improve its infrastructure - costs that can no longer be subsidized by SELCO's Internet and telephone revenues.
Hale noted that SELCO customers still pay about 40 percent less than other cable customers in the area.
Hale told Selectmen in December that cable rates would likely increase, and announced in January that the utility was cutting the senior discount - an issue that has since prompted several residents to write to Selectmen in protest.
According to Hale, SELCO loses $10 for every customer with a senior discount per month on signal costs alone. “That's not sustainable,” he said.
Meanwhile, customers will see a 4.2 percent per month reduction in their electric bills, meaning the average user will save about $3.75.
“For the average customer's bill, the decrease in electric will more than offset the increase in cable,” Hale said “The net bill will still go down for the average customer.”