Shrewsbury Selectmen Approve Cable Rate Increase

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Shrewsbury Electric and Cable Operations General Manager Michael Hale said it was necessary to increase cable rates.
Shrewsbury Electric and Cable Operations General Manager Michael Hale said it was necessary to increase cable rates. Photo Credit: John Swinconeck (file)

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.”

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Comments (4)

I will second that the on-demand leaves much to be desired and their prices for premium cable stations (HBO, Showtime, etc.) are terrible as they don't "haggle" down the prices like the major competitors in other towns. They also don't offer the portable capability for these stations - in almost every other town in Massachusetts, if you subscribe to HBO, you can also get much of the on demand on your smartphone/tablet - called HBO GO, and that added service is FREE to subscribers. Also, they need to staff someone on weekends to add services. I sent them a very polite letter asking for some of these services to be considered and never heard back. THAT BEING SAID, those are needles in a haystack of me being impressed with their rates on everything else, and I am thankful to have them. You know they offer a good service when you approach even a salesman for DISH and they aren't eager to talk to you.

SELCO is beginning to start running scared. The last few moves shows this.
IMO getting ready to decrease the payments in Lew of taxes in the next few years. If homeowners/renters start dropping cable tv in lew of just high speed cable, they have a excuse to decrease of stop the payments to town. Thus, this will also leave a back door for other cable companies to come in to town. Besides Dish network - already here, and free over the air 20 stations, with on roof antenna and DTV converter box.

... it's slow, archaic and frustrating. I'll take it, though, for 40% savings.

"SELCO customers still pay about 40% less than other cable customers in the area." Maybe so, but I must say that while I do like the cable in town, the On-Demand "system" is awful. It's slow, archaic and im