CEC’s GM: Refunds, stable rates in 2017

Published 12:18 am Friday, April 7, 2017

Ed Short had some good news, and some better news for the approximately 1,200 people who attended Covington Electric Cooperative’s annual meeting yesterday.

The good news is that CEC will pay qualified members $2.8 million in capital credits.

Suzanne Harrell paints a design on Lexi Brown’s face. Lexi is 6.

The even better news is that there is no rate increase expected this year.

“In the past seven years, Covington Electric has paid by check or credit on a power bill more than 9.8 million in capital credits to current members, past embers, and to estates of previous members,” Short said. “With the 2.8 million approved for this year, that is more than $12.6 million the board has approved in the last eight years.”

Short previously has explained that the credits determined on a pro-rata basis to the cooperative’s eligible members in parts of six counties, including Covington, Coffee, Dale, Crenshaw, Geneva and Escambia counties. Credits of $15 or more are paid by check; amounts less than $15 are credited to active accounts.

The general manager also said there is no rate increase projected for 2017.

“There are no projections for a rate change this year, barring some unforeseen circumstances such as increases in generating fuels like natural gas or implementation of additional regulations.”

CEC’s Ed Short had a special guest at the annual meeting, his great-granddaughter, Emma Patrick.

CEC moved toward cost-based rates in 2009, Short said, which assigned the fixed costs associated with providing power to a member to the facility charge rather than through the kWh charge. At some point, a great portion of the fixed costs likely will be added to the facility charge, resulting in a reduction in kWh costs, he said.

Short also outlined PowerSouth’s role in bringing nuclear power online, and said that CEC’s wholesale power rate could increase when that plant comes on line in the 2019-2020 time frame.

Short said 2016 was a good year for CEC, and expressed his thanks to members who allow the cooperative to cut, trim and spray the rights-of way.

“With good right-of-ways, we have less power outages, but when outages do occur from large trees, vehicles or lightning, it allows power restoration to be done much quicker,” he said.

Using this week’s weather as an example, he said approximately 1,600 members lost power Monday when a storm system moved through the area.

“It saved us time in getting the power restored because we had a good right-of-way situation,” Short said.

Recognized as the oldest woman in attendance was Lucy Kilgore, 99. There was a tie for the oldes man present. Both T.J. Boothe and L.C. Brannon are 96. Each of the three received $100, and Kilgore received an additional $50 bonus.