In today’s modern, connected world, having a source of safe, reliable and affordable electricity is crucial. That’s what your local cooperative strives to deliver to you all day, every day. We’re proud of our efforts to serve your needs with competitively priced electricity, responsive member service, and proactive, necessary investments in the electricity delivery grid.
You support all these services through the rates you pay for electricity. Those rates will need to increase as of your May 1 billing statement, the first rate change in four years.
Rates must cover costs
As a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative, Crawford Electric sets “cost based” rates, which are simply designed to cover the costs of providing power to our members. When costs increase beyond our operational ability to absorb, the rates must be adjusted to cover those costs.
The past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic have been challenging for us all. Supply chain disruptions in manufacturing, warehousing, and shipping have led to all kinds of product price increases on the items required to build and maintain your electric grid. In addition, we expect our wholesale power bill to increase $300,000 in 2022 due to the system demand required to get us through the 2021 Polar Vortex event, also known as Winter Storm Uri.
CEO Tony Mallory has been discussing the expected need for a rate adjustment in his monthly columns in this newsletter since last December.
Your May billing statement will reflect a rate adjustment that means each kilowatt-hour of electricity you use will cost you a fraction of a penny more. You’ll also be spending less than a dime more per day to maintain the benefits of an active, well-maintained electric service to your home. This amounts to a 6 percent increase for the typical residential user, or about $7.10 more per month (or about 24 cents per day). See chart at bottom.
Small-commercial and large-power users also have been notified of rate increases.
The biggest line item in an electric cooperative’s expense budget is the cost to purchase the electricity that we sell to our end-users, you the consumer-members. Long-term financial planning at this cooperative and at our wholesale power suppliers points to continuing pressures on the price of electricity.
But the good news is that in a time of rising energy prices nationwide, your local electric rate has risen at a much slower pace than other fuels and consumer goods over the past 10 years.
Your co-op has been able to do this because of continued modest growth on the system and careful attention to cost-containment measures.
We’ve continued to add a couple hundred new services each year. At the same time, we’ve kept our employee count stable. We have essentially the same number of employees today as we had 20 years ago – even though we have grown to more than 20,000 member-accounts to serve. In addition, we’ve taken advantage of the historically low interest-rate environment to manage costs on the long-term debt required in this capital-intensive industry.
But these measures only go so far. Your board of directors set the new rate believing that manageable increases as needed are preferable to a larger increase in the future. This is the first rate adjustment in four years. Even with this increase, Crawford Electric will remain well positioned to supply affordable and reliable electricity.
Electric utilities across the state and across the country all face the same challenges. Electricity rates in Illinois, for example, average more than 12 cents per kwh. Consumers on the East Coast regularly pay nearly twice as much as Missourians – closer to 20 cents per kwh.
A number of neighboring cooperatives have already, or will soon, announce similar rate increases. Our not-for profit, member-owned power suppliers, Associated Electric Cooperative and Sho-Me Power Electric Cooperative, are committed to maintaining a competitive position as low-cost wholesale power suppliers.
Ways to save
The best thing you can do to lessen the impact of any rate change is to become as energy efficient as possible. Be sure you invest your time and energy into home maintenance and improvements, and take advantage of the rebate programs Crawford Electric has available to help you do that. Visit www.crawfordelec.com and check out the Member Services section.
You also can make smart choices to manage your bills, such as avoiding late-payment penalties and using online or automatic payment options.