Power Bills to Increase Soonby Staff
Island Park News, August 11, 2011
ISLAND PARK -- On the coldest day the caldera has experienced in weeks, the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) announced it would increase wholesale power rates at Northwest consumer-owned utilities by an average 7.8 percent this fall.
The announcement came in the form of a Fall River Rural Electric Co-op news release Monday, August 15, when the temperature was in the mid- 50's F and it was rainy and windy.
For the member-owners of Fall River Rural Electric Cooperative, rising wholesale power costs will likely mean at least some increase in their electric rates. After several years of budget tightening, Fall River Electric managers expect they will have to pass part of this wholesale power cost increase on to members. "We've known a rate change was coming for a while and notified members as early as January that they may face a rate increase in 2012," says Bryan Case, Fall River Electric's General Manager.
BPA's early rate projections included an increase of 12 to 20 percent and an increase in transmission rates. Opposition from consumer-owned utilities like Fall River Electric helped bring the rate increase down significantly, as well as eliminate the transmission rate increase altogether.
BPA says it needs the wholesale rate increase to reinvest in its hydropower system's infrastructure, to fuel purchases and repairs at the Columbia Generation Station, and to pay for costs associated with protecting threatened and endangered fish.
At their next few meetings, the Cooperative's Board of Directors will discuss their recent Cost of Services Study and other financial projections in deciding how the Cooperative will respond to BPA's rate increase. Fortunately, for Fall River Electric members, their Board of Directors is composed of Cooperative members who pay the same rates as other members. They will be looking to keep rates as low as possible, while ensuring Fall River Electric can continue to provide safe and reliable power.
Fall River Rural Electric Cooperative is a member-owned electric utility providing power to more than 15,000 connections throughout rural areas in Southeast Idaho, Western Wyoming, and Southwest Montana. More information about the cooperative can be found at www.fallriverelectric.com. The aim of Fall River Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc. is to make electric energy available to its members at the lowest cost consistent with sound economy and good management.
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