Those who follow Citizens Electric Corporation’s (CEC) publications on a regular basis know that the electric industry is becoming more complex. The days of stable and predictable power supply costs have been replaced by greater volatility and uncertainty. Given that power supply represents 80% of CEC’s costs, that isn’t good news for our members or our rates. When this trend emerged years ago, CEC created a Purchased Power Cost Adjustment (PPCA) to address unpredicted changes in the cost of wholesale power. Other electric utilities in our area implemented similar mechanisms using names like “Fuel Adjustment Charge” and “Power Rate Adjustment” to reflect costs that can occur unexpectedly during the year.
While the PPCA has been in place for well over a decade, our members have only seen it used for a few months in 2008 and the last three months of 2014. Unfortunately, CEC is currently experiencing similar challenges. CEC’s power supplier, Wabash Valley Power Alliance (WVPA), has passed along multiple increases over the last few years and will likely assess another by year-end. In 2021 alone, WVPA charged CEC over $3 million of unexpected costs. CEC has absorbed the increases thus far by frugally managing the other 20% of our costs that we control directly. We’ve also fought for our members at WVPA by imploring our power supplier to control their costs and ensure more competitive rates in our region. While these efforts have delayed the need to raise rates, it has become clear that a portion will need to be passed on to CEC’s members to ensure we remain financially stable. Thus, CEC will be implementing a PPCA of $0.01394/kWh for November and December usage. For the average residential member using 1,000 kWh per month, this results in an additional charge of $13.94 for each of the two months.
While this is the first change in our rates since 2015, it’s not likely to be our last. WVPA continues to forecast an upward trend in its power supply rates over the next few years. As many of our members struggle to keep up with inflation, energy-inefficient housing, and other financial challenges, please know that CEC is focused on providing reliable and affordable electricity to you. As a not-for-profit cooperative, we will continue to look for ways to control our costs and help you control yours. For example, we hope to offer members a new rate structure in 2023 that benefits you when peak usage is minimized, and peak hours are avoided. Let’s all work together to keep more dollars in your pocket by sending fewer dollars out of our community and to our power supplier.
Financial Assistance & Energy Efficiency Tips
- Information on low-income home energy assistance programs is available by calling 1-800-392-8663.
- Tips for minimizing electric use can be found by visiting cecmo.com/energy-saving-tips.
Additional information on how changes in the electric industry have impacted today’s rates can be found in the News & Community section of our website.