Rising costs have become a common topic of conversation here at Citizens Electric Corporation and across this portion of Missouri that we’re privileged to serve. It seems like inflation, supply chain issues, and other cost pressures are affecting everything that we purchase to provide you with reliable and affordable electricity.
According to Citizen Electric's engineering group, prices for some materials and equipment have doubled in 12 months and lead times for certain items are 3-4 times longer than normal. Many vendors are refusing to bid on items because they have sold out into 2024 and beyond. When we recently sought bids on a replacement for a major substation transformer, we learned that the price may be triple what we last paid for a similar unit with a lead time of well over a year.
Power supply expenses also rose dramatically in 2021 and represented 80% of Citizens Electric's costs. We were disappointed to receive over $3.1 million in unexpected charges, but we were able to absorb these costs and not put this additional financial burden on our membership.
Most electric utilities are dealing with similar challenges and some have passed those rising costs on to their customers. However, it is important for our members to recall that Citizens Electric has not increased rates since 2015. In order to keep that successful run going, we need our members’ help. For example, we encourage our members to be mindful of how much electricity they consume and when they consume it.
Each member’s peak demand and time-of-use impacts what Citizens Electric pays our wholesale supplier, Wabash Valley Power Alliance. Simple changes such as staggering times for running the washer and dryer will help lessen demand, which lessens the amount Citizens Electric pays to Wabash Power. Avoiding on-peak times (1 pm – 7 pm, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays) also lessens the amount Citizens Electric pays to Wabash Power.
As families and businesses struggle to keep pace with rising costs, let’s all do what we can to keep your hard-earned money in your pocket. Citizens Electric appreciates its cooperative members and remains committed to the communities we serve.