Vera adjusts prices to reflect the rising cost of wholesale electricity and other inflationary expenses
About every two years, we adjust our electric prices to reflect the rising cost of wholesale electricity from our provider, Bonneville Power Administration, and other inflationary expenses. Effective Oct. 1, 2017, the cost of purchasing power from BPA increases by 7.11 percent.
Our goal is to minimize the impact of the increased BPA wholesale electric prices on your retail rates. Starting Oct. 1, 2017, the prices for our average residential customer will increase by $6.15 per month.
What are the main reasons the increase?
Increased wholesale power costs. BPA increased the cost of wholesale power by 7.11 percent. We purchase nearly all of our electricity and transmission from BPA and that directly affects our rates. In fact, the cost of buying wholesale power accounts for more than half of all our operating expenses.
Improvement in our utility distribution system infrastructure. To continue to deliver reliable electricity, we have replaced aging poles and wires, and added a new substation. The completion of the 16h Avenue substation means we now have four high voltage substations which gives us the critical capacity to provide you dependable, reliable service. We are in a stronger position to avoid power outages and recover service in the event of outages like the windstorm in 2015.
Compared to other utilities
One of the ways we measure our success in controlling costs and providing you value is by benchmarking ourselves to other utilities. Even with this increase, Vera will continue to have some of the lowest prices in the country.
As a publicly-owned, not-for-profit utility, our only responsibility is to you, our customer. We are locally governed – by a board of directors made up of Vera customers – and control our rates. We believe this model results in the best rates and responsive service for you. We struggle to balance the need for rate increases with the need to keep the rates as low as possible. This year, the difficult decision to raise rates is necessary to maintain the financial health of the utility.
This financial health provides the needed funds for investment in our utility infrastructure that ensures the reliable delivery of electricity now and in the future.
How can I lessen the impact of this increase?
Energy efficiency is more important than ever. You can manage your energy use online with our free web-based calculators, energy eLibrary and monthly newsletters. Our home energy use calculators provide you information to identify and benchmark your home’s energy use and find energy-saving opportunities.