Beginning with your November monthly statement the basic service charge will be increase $3.50 for all rate classes. For the average residential customer this equates to a 3.4% increase in their monthly bill.
This is in response to the announced Bonneville Power Administration increase in wholesale power rates effective October 1st, which amounts to an average increase of 6.1% for CPI. The main factors for this increase are the end of the temporary benefits of debt refinancing; increased maintenance, operating, and capital costs of hydro system assets; and increased fish and wildlife costs.
What is the basic charge?
The basic charge is a fixed amount on your monthly statement. Other utilities like gas, phone and water all have basic charges on their monthly statements.
Why is there a basic charge?
Your cooperative has fixed costs necessary to maintain and operate the system. These costs include buildings, trucks, equipment, labor, taxes, insurance, long-term debt … everything necessary to make sure your lights come on when you flip the switch.
How does our basic charge compare to other co-ops in the state?
The average is $22, with a high of $39.
Does everyone pay the same?
Yes. All residential members will pay the same $16.50 per month.
Is my kilowatt-hour rate going up?
No, there is no increase in your kWh rate.
What are the future plans for the basic charge?
As our costs increase in the future, we plan to modestly increase the basic service charge over time until it more fairly covers our fixed costs.
Why the change to our retail rate structure?
For many Northwest utilities, and CPI in particular, decades of steady load growth have supported low fixed charges and modest increases in kWh charges by generating additional revenues to sufficiently cover rising fixed and variable costs alike. That situation is changing significantly for CPI and the entire electric industry.
Electric utility loads are largely on the decline due primarily to years of a struggling regional and national economy, but also from intense energy efficiency efforts and competition from alternative generating resources like natural gas and solar.
CPI members in particular have an impressive record of investing in energy efficiency and rooftop solar generation, which is good news and to be encouraged. However, these successes also contribute to the steady decline in average energy use per member we’ve experienced over the past five years.
How are these rates determined?
A cost-of-service study is preformed periodically to determine what it costs to serve each rate class. We use this information to design rates that fairly recover our costs from all classes.