Frequently Asked Questions About the Rate Change
How will the rate change affect my bill? Most typical residential users will see a fixed $3.00 a month increase per meter. SmartPower meters will incur a $2.00 a month increase. Each security light will increase $1.00 per month.
What Rate am I in? By far, Rate A is the largest member class at 87%. These are typically residential or small businesses using single-phase service. However, eight rates are affected. To determine your rate, just look on your bill right next to the account name. Under the rate column, there will be a number in the highlighted area below.
Now, look at the following chart to find the number that corresponds with your rate. For example, if the number listed with your rate is 1, or any of the other 7 numbers in that column, you are on Rate A. If it’s 3, or any of the other 6 numbers, you are on Rate GS.
If you have a question about your rate schedule or are still unsure which rate schedule applies to your service, just call the cooperative during business hours at (903) 763-2203. A Member Services Representative can help you.
What type of security light do I have? Regardless of what type of security light you have, your charge will increase $1.00 a month. If you have a question on what type is installed, just call the office.
When will this change go into effect? The rate will be applied to electricity consumed as of May 1, 2018. All bills mailed after June 4, 2018 will reflect the new rates.
Why is this rate change necessary? Rate decisions are always difficult. With our last rate adjustment in 2009, we adjusted rates for only what we needed then. Prior to that we have only had one other rate adjustment in 19 years and that was in 1999.
As a non-profit, we constantly look at ways to be cost efficient without sacrificing service to our members. Unfortunately costs don’t remain the same. The 2009 rates were only designed to recover costs based on the cost structure for that year and for a relatively short period of time thereafter. Ultimately, the increased cost of operations over the last 9 years is why this rate change is necessary.
Why are the cooperative’s costs going up? Since 2009, the cost of providing service to our members and the cost of poles and wires to provide that service have increased. The number of miles of line built since 2009 has grown. This increase has added to our depreciation expense. So have the loans obtained to build those lines, which have added interest expense. Additional plant that has been built has also required more maintenance cost.
Of note, total electric plant has grown 38% since our last rate increase. A minor portion of that plant growth includes the headquarters building constructed over 5 years ago. However, depreciating the headquarters over 50 years contributes less than 1% annually to depreciation expense. One of the largest contributors to the growth in plant can be attributed to metering replacement, which was forced as our old system had become obsolete and no longer manufactured. Not replacing our 20-year old metering system was not an option.
Too, right-of-way costs have nearly doubled. An aggressive right-of-way program contributes to overall service quality by reducing outages, the length of outages, and tree damage to our system from storms.
The cost of cyber security is another expense that did not exist in 2009. Numerous federal and state authorities have instituted regulations to protect our nation and the electric grid from cyber-attacks. For example, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the North American Electric Reliability Council, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Public Utility Commission of Texas each have requirements that WCEC must meet.
The above are just a few examples of increased expenses. In the face of those, we have put off a rate increase as long as possible.
What can I do to keep my bill low? By far, the biggest factor that elevates an electric bill is the amount of electricity used. There are many ways to conserve on usage by employing energy star rated appliances and new lighting options. Proper insulation and sealing windows and doors can help. Of note, the highest bills fall right in line with extreme high and low temperatures, because heating and air condition use the largest percentage of electricity for most households.
Levelized billing is a great option for members that want to avoid bills that peak with the weather extremes. With this payment form, your bank account will be drafted the average amount over your previous twelve-month history to avoid big bill fluctuations.
For conservation tips go to: http://www.wcec.org/member-services/energy-savings-center/
In Summary: WCEC is a not-for-profit cooperative. As such, we are committed to providing reliable power and quality customer service at a reasonable cost. We are accountable to consumer-members, not outside investors. So, the management team and employees work very hard to minimize the impact of necessary price increases. We have a very positive and transparent history in this regard, and we renew our commitment to our members to keep rate increases to only what is necessary.