by General Manager Steve Stroshane
As I've reported since the first of the year, electric rates will increase about 5% starting on March 2023 bills. Both the kWh energy charge and the availability charge will go up. Members will pay approximately $5 more per $100 for your electricity.
While it may seem to some that rates have increased over the years, Polk-Burnett has not needed to collect more revenue with a rate increase since 2010. For more than a decade, we've invested millions of dollars in the electric grid, improving your reliability, while holding rates steady.
Beginning this month, the co-op board approved a rate increase to cover the rising costs of building and maintaining our system, as well as purchasing wholesale electricity for our members. The cost of wire, trucks, transformers and poles have all increased significantly over the last two years, as well as contracted services such as right-of-way clearing, underground cable installation and underground utility location for construction. The cost for Polk-Burnett to purchase power from our wholesale provider, Dairyland Power Cooperative, is up 6.5% this year, as energy market prices rise to historical levels. More than half of all revenue from members (58%) is used to purchase wholesale power.
There is never a good time to share the news that rates are going up, but it's important to be open and honest, so you know what you're paying for. Our mission for the past 85 years has been to deliver safe, reliable electricity to power your lives. We will continue to deliver extraordinary service and value for your dollar.
Current and new rates are published on our website. We've tightened our budgets and worked smarter with new technologies to minimize the impact of inflation on your bill. Your bill is affected by rates, as well as the weather and your electricity use.
Please contact the co-op office if you have questions about your electric bill. We can assist with payment options, rebates to boost energy efficiency in your home and SmartHub enrollment to help track and manage your electricity use. One of the best ways to lower energy costs and improve comfort in your home is with a home performance test. We offer rebates to help co-op members. Contact us to get started, 800-421-0283, x595.