Keeping You Informed of Changes in Your Rates

Photo portrait of Dave MarkhamI encourage you to take time to read the important articles about changes to your electricity rates on pages 28 and 29 of the February 2019 edition of Ruralite. The first article communicates the details of the second phase of our rate redesign program under the five-phase implementation plan Central Electric launched two years ago. The second article advises you that we will likely need to increase kilowatt-hour energy rates in January 2020. While both developments affect your electricity bill, there are important distinctions between the two changes to rates.

Our article on the progress of the rate redesign program explains why we adopted this program two years ago and how each of the implementation steps between now and 2025 will take shape. In summary, the program gradually decreases the energy rate while also offsetting those decreases with increases in the monthly facilities charge. The rate redesign is driven by changes in consumers’ energy choices, the need to treat all members equitably when charging for the services required to serve you, and the benefits of clearly showing members the costs of their energy use and the costs of delivering that electricity to you.

The average consumer’s annual electricity bill is unchanged as a result of these offsetting actions and the cooperative realizes no change in revenues. Ultimately all members pay their fair share of operating the utility system and everyone gets a clearer price signal related the electricity they use.

In mapping out these changes we have avoided speculating about future energy rates, our projections historically have made no assumptions of energy cost increases in an effort to avoid speculating about future unknowns. However, our second article explains such an increase will likely be needed in January 2020 and the reasons behind the increase. This outlook is driven by the October 2017 increase in our wholesale electricity rates charged by the Bonneville Power Administration and another such increase scheduled for October of this year. We also explain that part of the increase is also due to the need to significantly increase the cooperative’s investment in the major parts of the electrical system infrastructure during the 2020 to 2030 period.

I fully understand that most members prefer not to give a lot of time and thought to our electricity service as long as it’s reliable and affordable. Because continued reliability and affordability in an increasingly complex and expensive world are goals of both of these rates-related changes, I appreciate your willingness to spend time learning more about these important developments. All of us at Central Electric place a premium on keeping our members informed of the changes that affect them, their electricity service and its costs.

Dave Markham
President and CEO