Submitted by OPALCO
Colder temperatures in 2017 brought in greater revenue than projected so every OPALCO co-op members who paid a bill in 2017 will receive a credit on their last bill in December. The average credit for residential members, based on typical energy usage, will be about $50.
In 2015, when warmer temperatures caused a reduction in co-op revenues, the board put “Policy 29: Rate Design” into effect with an energy charge adjustment. The energy charge adjustment provides a variable to balance fluctuations in energy revenues, positive or negative. This year, members will get money back.
Surplus revenue, such as what occurred in 2017, provides little benefit to the co-op budget for the next year and creates a larger capital credit obligation on the backs of members in 25 years. The board would rather put the dollars in members’ hands now instead of waiting 25 years.
The 2017 margin was trending toward about $4 million as the third quarter came to a close. Estimating temperatures and year-end expense, the board decided to adjust the year-end revenue to return a portion to the membership; increase capital credit distributions to include about 45 percent of next year’s obligation, and create a board restricted fund of about $500,000 to cover unforeseen emergencies or opportunities.
If members have questions or comments about this energy charge adjustment bill credit, join staff for a live streaming event on Facebook, @OrcasPower, at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 12. Staff will discuss the bill credit and answer questions.
Orcas Power & Light Cooperative is the member-owned cooperative electric utility, serving more than 11,000 members on 20 islands in San Juan County. OPALCO provides electricity that is 95 percent greenhouse-gas free and is generated predominantly by hydroelectric plants. OPALCO was founded in 1937.