Annual Regulatory Meeting Planned for November 8, 2019
Every year, the United Power board takes a deep dive into the rates we charge for electricity and considers both the revenue requirements of the cooperative and the anticipated load growth for the cooperative in setting rates for the upcoming year. The United Power board will be considering some adjustments in current rates and adding an additional rate for 2020 at its November 8 Regulatory Meeting.
Recommendations from staff for the upcoming year include a modest 1.5-2% increase for residential members. Similar to last year’s rate changes, the adjustment being proposed would slightly increase the demand component and reduce the cost of energy. In 2019, the cooperative incorporated a demand charge into their residential rate, while reducing the cost of energy.
“When United Power rolled out the advanced metering infrastructure several years ago, we were able to collect better data about how each member uses power in their home or business,” stated Dean Hubbuck, Director of Power Supply and Rates. “Using this data, we constructed a rate that considers not only how much power a member consumes, but we can also measure their impact on the grid that supplies that power. By breaking apart these separate components members are billed more accurately for their use and impact.”
The rate structure not only allowed the cooperative to charge members more fairly for their impact on the electrical system, but it also put more power into the hands of members to control their costs by shifting the way they use electricity in their homes. For instance, by spreading out the use of household appliances like dryers and dishwashers through the course of the day, members can have a direct impact on their demand and reduce their costs.
This year, the board is also considering a new rate that would help lessen the impact on members who utilize electric heating technology in their homes. Homes utilizing electric thermal storage units experienced a larger impact from the rate change in 2019 when compared with the average household. A group of members concerned about the increase met with staff and board members to voice their concerns and ask the board to consider their unique situation.
“One of the best things about being served by a cooperative is that members have direct access to their regulators – the board of directors,” stated Hubbuck. “In response to our members concerns we hosted public meetings, and the new rate being considered in November is in response to these meetings.”
The changes are planned to be in effect for consumption beginning January 1, which means members would see the changes on their February bills. Once the rate adjustments are decided, the changes will be communicated via the United Newsline and on the cooperative’s website.