By Ty Peel, Executive VP & CEO
As Executive Vice President & CEO of West Florida Electric Cooperative (WFEC), a not-for-profit, member-owned cooperative, my staff and I strive every day to keep the best interest of every co-op member at the heart of all the decisions we make. This is also true for your member-elected Board of Trustees. We work very hard to hold down costs while still meeting our mission of providing safe, reliable and affordable electric service to our members in Calhoun, Holmes, Jackson and Washington Counties.
At this time, the cooperative’s Board of Trustees and myself would like to notify WFEC members that the decision to remove the Hurricane Michael Recovery Fee has been made. The cooperative is still waiting for the reimbursement of additional funds from FEMA, but the interest payments due on the Hurricane Michael line of credit are now manageable within the co-op’s operating budget.
However, after conducting a cost-of-service study with an independent rate consultant and looking over the costs associated with providing service to each member of the cooperative, the decision to adjust the cooperative’s rate structure has been made. The members of WFEC have not seen a rate adjustment since November 2013 - that’s nearly 9 years, and in that time period, as you all know, inflation and the costs of goods and services has steadily increased. WFEC does not take implementing these changes lightly and has done everything possible to minimize the impact on you, our members. The Board of Trustees has made the decision to adjust the co-op’s rate structure by implementing an increase to the base rate and an adjustment to the per kilowatt-hour charge, which will take effect in May 2022. All rate classes will be affected by these adjustments. Even with this increase, WFEC’s rates remain comparable with the rates of other utilities serving the area.
The primary reasons your Board of Trustees has decided this change is necessary are due to inflation (an increase in the costs of goods and services); increased right-of-way (ROW) maintenance costs; increases in wholesale power costs, supplies and other items associated with the delivery of electricity to members, and ongoing supply chain issues.
On average, a WFEC residential member uses approximately 1,500 kilowatt hours (kWh) each month. When these changes are implemented, the average residential member will notice about a 4.5 percent (4.5%) increase from previous rates. The base rate will change from $24.95 to $35. The per kWh rate will change from 0.11069 for the first 1,000 kWh and 0.13023 for everything over that, to a consistent rate of 0.11637, no matter how many kilowatt hours are consumed.
As your cooperative, we are committed to minimizing the impact of increasing power costs on your household. Contact us to learn how to save energy throughout your home and to learn about our energy efficiency programs, which we will be sharing more about in the coming months in our monthly newsletter.