Changes include expanded Time-of-Use; no regular rate increases
Following nine months of study and rate development, La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) has proposed, for its general residential member-customers, no rate increase in 2017.
LPEA is also proposing an adjustment to its optional Time-of-Use (TOU) rate, increasing the number of “off-peak” hours (those billed at the lower, 5.9 cent per kilowatt hour (kWh) rate) by more than 30 percent, and a base rate reduction of $1.50 per month. To balance the increased off-peak hours, the TOU “on-peak” rate is proposed to increase to 23.6 cents per kWh.
The LPEA Board of Directors will vote on the proposed rates for its members during its regular Board meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 16, at LPEA’s Durango headquarters in Bodo Park. The meeting, open to the public, begins at 9 a.m.
A 30-day comment period will follow the board meeting, and pending no changes, rates will go into effect Jan. 1, 2017.
“When we were notified by our wholesale power provider, Tri-State Generation and Transmission, of the approximate 4 percent increase in the wholesale power costs, we took a look all the way down the line to try to absorb it and not increase rates to our members,” said Mike Dreyspring, LPEA CEO. “I’m very pleased we were able tighten our internal expenditures and explore various rate design concepts to develop a solid solution to ensure reliable service and keep bills as low as possible.”
Key to the new rate structure is the change in the TOU program. Time-of-Use enables LPEA to better manage the flow of electricity and purchase wholesale power more efficiently in lower demand periods. To encourage TOU participation, LPEA financially rewards members for shifting electricity consumption to off-peak periods. Members must opt-in to participate in the TOU program.
Proposed, during a 24-hour period, 16 hours will be off-peak, with members using electricity during those off-peak hours charged the 5.9 cent per kWh rate. Eight hours will be on-peak, charged at the higher 23.6 cent per kWh rate. All day, every Sunday will be off-peak, as will all day Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“Ultimately we believe LPEA will look to Time-of-Use rate structures for our entire residential membership,” said Dan Harms, manager of rates, technology and energy policy. “With this enhanced TOU program, we believe most members can save 5 percent before even trying to shift their energy usage to the off-peak time periods. Members who make a concerted effort to use electricity in the off-peak periods could save up to 40 percent on their bills.”
Harms added that members shifting to Time-of-Use is a win-win for both consumers and their electric cooperative.
LPEA members interested in the 2017 rate development process are invited to attend the upcoming Board of Directors meeting on Nov. 16. Agendas for all LPEA board meetings are posted at www.lpea.coop. For additional information, contact LPEA at 970.247.5786.
LPEA, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative established in 1939, provides to its more than 30,000 members, with nearly 42,000 meters, safe, reliable electricity at the lowest reasonable cost, while being environmentally responsible.