(Hannibal)--Hannibal utility customers are about to see another rate hike come July. The Board of Public Works has approved a 3 percent increase for electric customers, and a 4 percent hike for water and sewer.

BPW General Manager Bob Stevenson says electric increases are necessary due to investment in the Prairie State Power Plant, a decision he says should result in more stable rates going forward…

"Bringing a new coal-fired plant on line is an incredibly complex and expensive procedure.  Once its done, costs from that plant are essentially flat for the life of that plant. A few years from now, we'll be thinking "what a sweet deal", although right now, its a little bit painful."

Water and sewer customers should brace for even more rate increases in the future.  Stevenson says a big part of that is due to government required upgrades to equipment and infrastructure...

"In water and sewer, we are under a constant bombardment from Washington--unfunded mandates.  We can see them coming as far as we can see.  We've got old equipment; our water plant is 90 years old.  We're still using technology from 1924 with a couple of add-ons and patches."

This fall, The Board of Public Works will ask voters to approve a bond issue to finance part of the upgrades.