Controlling costs despite upward pressure

Steve HamlinAs your not-for-profit cooperative, we are always focused on keeping costs low while also providing you exceptional service. We want to work with you to help you control your energy costs. By working together, we can make changes that will also help us control your co-op’s costs.
When we save, you save. While we continuously work to drive down costs, there are upward pressures on the cost our cooperative incurs.

 

Duke Energy rate increase

Last year, Duke Energy submitted rate increase requests to the North Carolina Utilities Commission. If approved, every Duke customer, including wholesale customers like Piedmont Electric, could see an increase in their bill.

Coal ash

A big component of Duke’s request is for the closing of their coal ash ponds across the state. While Duke Energy shareholders are paying for the clean-up of the Dan River spill, Duke would like its customers to pay for its coal ash clean-up at other sites through their rate increase.

Piedmont Electric’s portion of the coal ash costs are estimated to be about $17 million, but are subject to the results of the Duke rate cases presently before the Utilities Commission.

This could result in a higher bill for us from Duke Energy.

Low natural gas prices

Piedmont Electric members have long enjoyed rates that are below the state and national average.

Falling natural gases prices have been good for member’s monthly bills as natural gas is a large component of our generation fuel mix. However, falling natural gas prices affect solar generators in that there is a direct correlation to the avoided cost rates we pay to our members who are solar producers.

With the abundance and low price of natural gas, the avoided cost reflects the price of natural gas which continues to decrease. We decreased our avoided cost in May 2017 and we anticipate doing so again next month.

Federal tax changes

Last year, Congress passed one of the largest changes to our federal tax code in more than 30 years which included a reduction of the corporate federal income tax.

As a not-for-profit, your cooperative does not pay federal or state income tax. However, we still pay many other taxes including property, sales and payroll tax among others.

While we do not see a direct tax savings, we hope to see a savings through our contracts with Duke Energy. We expect a portion of their requested rate increase to be offset by the reduction in their federal income tax bill.

What it all means

Your electric cooperative will continue to do everything it can to keep costs low even in a volatile cost environment with upward pressures.

Fluctuations in our month-to-month costs often show up on your bill in the wholesale power cost adjustment (WPCA) line as either a credit or a charge. We have been able to pass along a WPCA credit on your bill since November 2014 and we hope that will continue. However, if costs continue to rise we may be forced to consider raising rates to keep up with the costs of doing business.

What you can do to help

We are your energy partner and as such we want to help you use your power efficiently. We offer free advice and a variety of programs to help you manage your energy use and offset some of the increases from these factors we’ve discussed.

Visit our website, check out our social media pages or call 800.222.3107 for more information on these great programs and more to come!

  • Free energy audits
  • Load Management
  • Beat the Peak
  • Time-of-Day Rates
  • Electric vehicle rates
  • Energy efficiency and renewable energy rebates and loans
  • Energy calculators
  • Usage alerts and notices
  • HVAC technical advice

I hope to see you at our Annual Meeting of the Members on April 27 where our future plans will be discussed.