In January 2017, Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) is set to receive a 4.3 percent increase in wholesale power costs from Tri-State Generation and Transmission. This increase, coupled with the need to accurately recover the cooperative's fixed costs, has resulted in the need to increase electric rates in the new year.
"We cannot ignore the jump in wholesale power costs. Some years, we are able to absorb these increases, but if we hold rates steady for too long, we would be forced to introduce a large increase down the road. This would be a huge burden on our membership," said DMEA CEO Jasen Bronec.
As a not-for-profit electric cooperative, DMEA's rates are designed to recover the cost of doing business. The energy charge -- the rate per kilowatt hour -- covers the costs of purchasing wholesale energy from Tri-State and the generation of local energy. The access fee, also known as the base charge, covers the cost of operating the cooperative and delivering power. These are considered fixed costs or costs that DMEA would experience regardless of the number of kilowatt hours used by members each month. Fixed costs include items such as system maintenance, bill processing, equipment and employee wages.
"The proposed increases reflect our need to pass on Tri-State's increase and more accurately collect the amount of revenue needed from each rate class. As a cooperative, it is important that we collect the correct amount of revenue from each rate class in order to cover the fixed costs associated with serving each rate class," said Bronec.
Overall, the changes amount to an approximate 3.61 percent increase. DMEA's board of directors will take comment on the proposed rates at its regularly scheduled November board meeting
on Nov. 15 at 3 p.m. They will also vote on the proposed rates at this time.
Member comments can be mailed to the cooperative at DMEA - Rate Comments, PO Box 910, Montrose, CO 81402 or sent electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments must be received at least one day prior to the board meeting. Members can also comment in person by attending the rate hearing.
If you have questions about how the proposed changes will affect your account, please contact DMEA's energy services team at 877-687-3632.
Two fatal accidents occurred in Delta County within a two-day span last week.
Casey Gillenwater, 25, of Delta was killed the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 13, in a single-vehicle rollover on Highway 133 outside of Hotchkiss.