For the first time in seven years, Black River Electric Cooperative is adjusting rates. The changes are due to a significant increase in the cost of wholesale power compounded by increases in material and equipment prices. The changes will be effective with bills due April 10th.
Changes will impact all rate classes and include adjustments to kilowatt-hour rates and service availability charges. For illustration purposes, a residential member using 1,250 kwh per month will see an increase of approximately $18. A complete list of new rates is published on our website at www.brec.coop/rates.
“It’s probably no surprise that the cost of electricity is rising along with everything else. But we understand no one likes to pay more. That’s why we have tried so hard to hold the line on rates which we’ve been able to do since 2016. But when we received this latest cost of power increase from our power supplier, we simply could not absorb it,” said General Manager John Singleton. Fortunately for BREC members, the new rates will go into effect after the majority of winter heating season has passed.
Approximately sixty cents of every dollar BREC receives, goes to pay for the power we sell to our members. The remaining forty cents funds the material, labor and equipment that BREC uses to serve our members. Significant increases in all categories are creating a perfect storm scenario for the entire electric industry.
Unfortunately, according to Singleton, more increases are likely on the horizon. Many of the challenges being faced by the electric utility industry nationwide, are dependent on government policies, regulations, supply and demand, and domestic and international events. The cooperative’s wholesale energy supplier, Associated Electric Cooperative, believes future rate increases beyond 2023 may be required to cover costs.
BREC offers resources that help members take control of their energy bills. The Smarthub mobile app allows members to track their usage daily as well as provides an easy way to pay. “101 Easy Ways to Save Energy & Money” is a free brochure that helps remind members of simple ways to save energy. Download it from our website at www.brec.coop/energy-efficiency.
BREC offers a variety of payment options; members can choose one that works best for their budget. Prepaid Billing allows members to pay as they go. Monitor your energy use and add credit to the balance daily, weekly or monthly to match your budget. Budget Billing helps avoid bill fluctuations by taking an average of the previous 12 month’s usage and calculating an even monthly payment amount. EBill allows members to receive their monthly bill via email the same day it processes, allowing extra time to pay before the 10th.
As a not-for-profit electric cooperative, BREC returns any margins to its members so there’s no incentive to raise rates more than necessary. Our goal is always to provide safe, reliable electricity to our members. Despite this rate adjustment, BREC continues to have some of the lowest rates in the country and the cost of electricity remains a great value considering all the ways we depend on it.
For more information about the new rates effective in April, visit our website at www.brec.coop/rates.