High Point electric ratepayers will get a slight break this fall. But the city's long-term power debt picture is a different story altogether.

Back in July, High Point's debt responsibility stood at just over $171 million according to ElectriCities of North Carolina Inc. That's the agency that provides power to the city and 50 other communities.

It all began with the construction of the Catawba Nuclear Station 40 years ago. It was well underway during the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident in 1979. The new regulations that followed essentially tripled construction costs at Catawba, fueling the massive debt.

Despite the long-term debt obligation, ElectriCities is lowering what it charges High Point and other members by an average of roughly 2 percent beginning in October. According to the High Point Enterprise, the wholesale reductions are part of the agency's debt refinancing strategy, which was passed in 2015 over the city's objections. The plan extends the payback period to 2030 in order to reduce rates in the short-term.

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