by General Manager Steve Stroshane
Electric rates will increase in March 2023 to cover the rising costs of building and maintaining our rural electric system, as well as purchasing electricity for our members. While rate increases are never welcome, we are working to reduce the impact on families by cutting expenses and controlling costs where we can without sacrificing reliability. The overall increase members will see on your bills will be approximately 5%, which is $5 more per $100.
Inflation drives up costs
The cost to deliver reliable power has been impacted by inflation, from wire and trucks to transformers and poles. Contractor services, such as right-of-way clearing, underground cable installation and underground utility locating for construction, have also increased drastically over the past 24 months. These costs to deliver power are covered through your availability charge.
For 2023, we will also see a 6.5% increase in our wholesale cost of power, as energy market prices rise to historical levels. This is mainly due to the high cost of natural gas, which is used to generate electricity. Coal prices and supply chain challenges are also factors. More than half of all revenue collected from members (58%) is used to purchase wholesale power. This cost is covered through your kWh energy charge.
Your electric bill has two rate components
1. The daily availability charge covers your share of the cost to build and maintain power lines and the electric system that makes power available at your location. This charge is higher in rural areas because costs are shared by fewer members. Some call this the fixed charge.
2. The kWh energy charge covers the cost of electricity you use, including its generation and transmission from the power plant. Winter rates are lower October through May. Summer rates are higher June through September. Co-op members use less electricity during the coldest days of winter than they do on the hottest days of summer. As a result, power costs less during the winter than in the summer.
Years of improved reliability and service without a rate increase
For years, the co-op has invested millions of dollars into the electric system, improving reliability and member service without a rate increase. In 2016, the availability charge was raised, but the energy charge was lowered, resulting in less revenue for the co-op and savings for many members. In fact, Polk-Burnett has not needed to collect more revenue with a rate increase since 2010.
We will continue to deliver extraordinary service and value for your dollar
Current and new rates effective March 2023 are below. Your bill is impacted by rates, but also the weather and your energy use. Please call us at 800-421-0283, or visit our office or website if we can assist you with payment options, EnergySense rebates, SmartHub enrollment or other ways to manage your energy use and save money.