Starting Oct. 1, 2019, we will be increasing our power rates. For residential electric customers, the monthly base charge will increase $4.10. All other customers and products will see an increase averaging 4.7 percent.
There are many reasons that lead to this decision including increasing operating costs. The biggest cost is wholesale electricity from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). Two significant measures at BPA have a substantial impact on our cost of power which include (1) the ending of a credit to our wholesale monthly power bill that was the result of a legal settlement and (2) the anticipation of a surcharge to our power bill as a result of BPA having insufficient financial reserves to operate reliably. Since our power cost is still well above half of our operating cost, these actions impact our overall operations significantly.
Other upward pressures on our rates, in the two years since our last rate adjustment, include inflationary increases to our material and labor costs and increasing debt service payments for the funds used to ensure we have a modern and reliable electrical distribution system.
Our new rate schedules will be posted on our website as soon as they are published, probably in about a week. If you are a non-residential customer and would like assistance determining the actual impact on your power bills, you can call or email our customer service staff and they can do a side by side comparison for you. They can be reached at 1-888-774-8272 or email@example.com.
We understand that any price increase, no matter how small, has an impact on the individual customer. We make every effort to keep our operating costs as low as we can without degrading the service that we provide to you. For example, it is always a balancing act when we have to decide on staffing levels, inventory, and equipment that is used for routine operations, compared to what we have to have on hand in the event of a large wind or ice event. When making these types of decisions, rate impact is always one of our determining factors.
We continue to maintain a professional customer service staff. If you need help or time when paying your utility bill, please contact us as soon as you are aware of the issue. Our staff has many tools at their disposal that can help, but only if you call and put them to work for you.
As always, our mission is to provide you with the most value for the rates that you pay. To accomplish this, we have ensured that your utility is financially sound, maintains an efficient and reliable distribution system, and is ready to respond to any emergency issue.
If you have any questions, please let us know.