Taking into consideration changes in market conditions, La Plata Electric Association’s board of directors voted Dec. 17 to reduce the anticipated average electric rate increase of 5.6 percent to 3.5 percent.
The average residential customer is now expected to notice an increase of $2.68 per month (as opposed to $5.35), effective Jan. 1. Specific increases will depend on the rate classification of each residential, commercial and industrial customer, and how much electricity each uses.
“Tri-State Generation and Transmission annually notifies LPEA in September of whether or not they will increase the cost of the electricity we purchase from them and what that rate will be,” said Greg Munro, LPEA CEO, referencing the wholesale power generation company from which LPEA purchases the majority of its electric power. “We then look at all aspects of delivering that electricity to our customers, including capital construction, operations and maintenance, the cost of borrowing, energy efficiency and conservation programs, etc., and then complete an operating forecast for the next year.”
Though LPEA will still experience a wholesale power rate increase of 4.1 percent from Tri-State, other changes in the market, including lower interest rates as well as a recent substantial, unexpected drop in the cost of fuels and raw materials used in LPEA’s infrastructure construction and maintenance, will allow LPEA to lessen the financial impact to its customers.
“This is the difference between a for-profit company and a cooperative such as LPEA,” said Munro. “Our board of directors doesn’t answer to stockholders, but instead seeks to do what is in the best interest for our member/customers. In these tight economic times, the board felt that keeping the rate increase as minimal as possible was good for our community. Plus we’re seeing a dramatic increase in energy efficiency by our member customers, helping to lessen the demand for more electricity generation, which in turn helps the entire financial equation. This effort should be rewarded.”
A complete listing of the revised rates is available online at www.lpea.coop. For further information, call 247-5786.
LPEA, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative established in 1939, provides to its nearly 30,000 members with more than 40,000 meters, safe, reliable electricity at the lowest reasonable cost, while being environmentally responsible.