Covington Electric chief: No expected increases

Published 12:30 am Friday, April 8, 2016

A large crowd gathered Thursday night at Covington Electric’s annual meeting.

A large crowd gathered Thursday night at Covington Electric’s annual meeting.

The more than 1,800 people who registered at Covington Electric Cooperative’s 72nd annual meeting were rewarded with good news.

First, CEC general manager Ed Short said, there are no expected rate increases for power for the seventh consecutive year.

Short credited PowerSouth, its energy supplier, for efforts to keep rates stable.

“Rates have not changed since August 2009,” Short said. “At that time, we took the first step toward cost-based rates. With full cost-based rates, the fixed costs associated with providing power to a member are collected in the facility charge rather than collecting some of the fixed cost through the kWh charge.

Gray Jackson sports a hard hat at Thursday's CEC meeting.

Gray Jackson sports a hard hat at Thursday’s CEC meeting.

“Full cost-based rates help to proved reliable service to you, the member, while also offering programs to help you save money and use energy more wisely.”

Short said recent rate studies indicate CEC needs to move to full cost-based rates. The facility charge is where CEC should collect most of the revenue to maintain and upgrade poles, lines, transformers, and equipment, he said.

“I like to make the comparison to a truck or car,” he said. “The vehicle costs the same to buy regardless of whether you drive it every day or only once a week. The variable is the amount of fuel you buy, which varies depending on how much you drive the vehicle.

“In our case, the vehicle is the facility charge and the kWh I the fuel to run the vehicle,” he said. “With full cost-based rates, collection for fixed costs are moved out of the kWh charge into the facility charge.”

Short said CEC will continue to work on rate studies to determine if and when it will change the rate structure. For the foreseeable future, he said, a wholesale power rate is not expected until PowerSouth’s nuclear plant comes on line in June of 2019.

CEC members got more good news when Short announced that the CEC board also has approved $1.75 million in capital credits to be paid to members this year.

Capital credits result from any “profit” from the operation of the cooperative. Those funds are distributed back to members on a pro rata share, but they are first invested in the system. This year’s distribution will bring the total distribution for a seven-year period to $9.8 million.

“These payment will be based on the dollars each member paid to CEC,” Short said.

Credits of $15 or more will be paid by check and mailed to the address of record for active and inactive accounts. Amounts less than $15 will be credited to active accounts. In the cases of inactive accounts, the payments will accrue until the amount due reaches the payment amount for a check to be mailed.