An Important Message About Your Electric Bill From Your Cooperative’s Chairman & CEO
Dear Consolidated Cooperative Member,
Beginning in October, you will see an increase in your electric bill. Every year, your not-for-profit cooperative analyzes its costs for providing you service and how its rates recover them. After carefully reviewing the results from this year’s analysis the cooperative’s management and board of trustees recognized the need to increase your rates in 2020 to ensure safe, reliable delivery of the high-quality service you have come to expect. Read more…
The more you know!
Q & A (This is a running Q&A and Consolidated will frequently update)
How are my rates changing?
As a residential member, you will see an increase of $6.75 to your monthly service charge beginning in October. The distribution usage rate will remain unchanged. The included table of the distribution charges is an example of an average residential member’s bill using 1,300 kWh per month.
Didn’t Consolidated just increase electric rates last year?
Yes, your electric rates increased in late 2018. While there is never a good time to have your bill increase, the decision was made by the co-op’s management team and board of trustees to put an increase in effect this fall.
We have always and will always do what we can to keep our costs reasonably low, and members continue to reap the rewards of sharing ownership in a responsible and responsive cooperative; when we collect more revenue than our costs, you get your share back in the form of capital credits.
While the idea of capital credits and ownership is most often not understood, we can still point out that members should remember getting their “Shares” of our margins over the last few years (not necessarily every year, though).
How much will my monthly electric bill go up?
If you use on average 1,300 kWh per month, you will see a little less than a 4% increase.
When will the rate increase will take effect?
Your electric rate increase takes effect on September 1, and you will see the new rates reflected in your October bill.
How will you determine the actual amount of the increase?
When it comes to deciding on how much rates will rise, Consolidated uses financial tools and analyses common to electric cooperatives and other utilities to help us arrive at the best possible solutions for the coop and its members. We will always keep our rates as reasonable as possible, without sacrificing safety, reliability, and service.
Are you using the increase in electric rates to pay for fiber internet?
A small portion of the increase will help the broadband initiative move forward. A vibrant region where people want to live helps to keep electric rates low because more people share in the costs. Our plan to bring high-speed internet to every member contributes to your quality of life and opens rural areas to many exciting opportunities; however, we are working hard to make sure that those investments are paid back by those who use the services.
However, two key reasons for the increase are keeping the energy grid secure, and maintaining the high standard of services, products, and reliability that you’ve come to expect from Consolidated.
- It takes a sizeable investment to maintain a network that is safe and reliable. The co-op maintains more than a thousand miles of power lines. If we don’t stay out in front of vegetation management and other maintenance tasks, the grid becomes compromised, and costs can escalate quickly.
- Keeping your lights on (our track record is excellent). Over the last ﬁve years, you have experienced, on average, only three outages every two years, each lasting just over one hour. Those averages have been diminishing consistently for many, many years.
Is there anything I can do about this? I already have a difficult time paying my monthly electric bill!
We have a consumer campaign called Know Your Power! It will help you understand how much energy you’re using — and, ultimately, how much you are spending.
Also, if you haven’t already, sign up for SmartHub. It operates just like a dashboard for your Consolidated utility accounts. SmartHub is an excellent tool for managing energy usage to help you achieve both energy and cost savings. Access SmartHub here, or download the Android or iOS version through your app store.
Another important resource for members is the co-op’s energy advisory services. Consolidated has a professional energy advisor on staff, Roger Keller, who is available to answer your questions over the phone. You can contact Roger at 800-421-5863.
Now that I have an idea of where to begin when it comes to lowering my energy costs, what is Consolidated doing to help control costs within the co-op organization?
- Your cooperative is diligent about containing costs to deliver electric service that is affordable, reliable, and safe. We work actively with the organization that generates our electricity, not only to keep our wholesale rates reasonable and reliability high, but also to accompany your voice in Columbus, Ohio, and Washington, DC, to make sure other interests do not unfairly burden your cost of power.
- Several years ago, we invested in a Supervisory Control and Data Acquistion (SCADA) system. SCADA not only helps us avoid outages, restore power quickly and effectively when outages do happen, and control the cost of the power we purchase by managing our loads during high-demand periods. Consolidated’s fiber internet backbone is another tool that helps us analyze and provide your electric power more efficiently. perform operational analytics to help us identify and correct inefficiencies associated with delivering your electric power.
- The ﬁber-optic network we began installing a decade ago not only provides a launching point for our ﬁber Internet services to our members, but it has been helping us all along manage our power lines and other systems to minimize the costs of delivering your power while keeping our service reliable.
- We’re doing our part to be active in and to encourage vibrant communities. More people living and working in our area means more members sharing in the costs of bringing electric power to our communities.
What are distribution services?
We buy our wholesale power generation from Buckeye Power, a cooperative of which Consolidated is one of many member-owners. Buckeye generates the power and arranges for it to be delivered to Consolidated’s substations in and around our communities. Consolidated then “distributes” the power to you. Your monthly bill for these “distribution” services includes a ﬂat-rate charge and a charge for each unit of energy (kWh) you use that month.
How will this latest increase affect my distribution service charge?
If your average use is 1,300 kWh per month you will see a little less than 4% increase in your electric bill. It does not include the generation and transmission costs. If your usage is more or less than this average, the increase will vary accordingly.
What does the monthly, flat-rate service charge include?
The monthly service charge can be confusing, especially because this charge varies among providers of electricity. Consolidated Cooperative’s monthly service charge covers your share of the cooperative’s fixed costs to maintain power lines, substations, and the system that makes electricity available 24/7 to your homes. It doesn’t matter how much or how little power you use; all residential members pay the same monthly service charge for each electric account in their name.
If you have questions about the rate increase, please contact us:
5255 State Route 95
Mount Gilead, OH 43338
Phone: (419) 947-3055
Toll Free: (800) 421-5863 OR
Send us an email