By Indiana Reed
Special to The SUN
The La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) Board of Directors gave preliminary approval on Wednesday, Nov. 20, for an average electric rate increase of approximately 4.5 percent.
Specific increases will depend on the rate classification of each residential, commercial and industrial customer. The average residential bill of $99.60 will notice an increase of approximately $4.20 per month.
LPEA must give at least a 30-day notice of proposed rate changes, and during that time will accept member comments to those proposed changes. The board is scheduled to give final approval at its next board meeting, Wednesday, Dec. 18, with the new rates to go into effect Jan. 1.
In general, LPEA’s rate increase is due to a combination of factors. Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, LPEA’s wholesale power supplier, raised the price of power purchased by LPEA. Additionally, with numerous retirements on the horizon, as well as the need for individuals who can handle the increased interest in renewable energy and energy efficiencies, LPEA anticipates new hires in 2014. LPEA is also facing increased costs due to general inflation.
“At LPEA we’ve reduced costs with use of new technologies, reduced programs, refinanced debt, and are now about as lean as we can get without impacting quality, reliable service to our members,” said Greg Munro, LPEA’s CEO. “Based on the cost of service, and to maintain all of our financial requirements, we estimate we need an additional $4.6 million in 2014. We have forecasted as tight as we can and will still have to work hard in 2014 to find more savings.”
The increases for each rate classification will be delineated in legal display advertisements in local newspapers and on-line at www.lpea.coop. For further information, call 247-5786.