OPALCO bills to increase about $9.50 | Update

  • Fri Dec 21st, 2018 11:44am
  • News

Submitted by OPALCO

OPALCO members will see a rate increase on their bills in January.

The bills will be $9.50 higher, on average, for the local electrical co-operative.

This increase is driven by the loan expense, or capitalization, for a submarine cable replacement, as well as inflation and power cost increases. The budget also includes two new apprentice lineworker positions to prepare for retirements on the horizon.

The 2019 budget includes a 5.2 percent revenue increase, which will be applied equally between the service access, or facilities, charge and the energy usage portion of member bills for a total of around $9.50 more per month. This is based on the average residential monthly household usage. Learn about what costs are included in the service access charge and how trade-offs are balanced at www.opalco.com/rates.

“The board strives to keep power bills affordable,” said board president Vince Dauciunas. “We held rate workshops throughout 2018 to explore options for rate setting and completed a new Cost of Service analysis to make sure each member is paying their fair share. The revenue increase was necessary to balance the budget in a climate of rising costs.”

If paying the bill is a financial strain, OPALCO offers a monthly credit through an energy assistance program. The board gave the program a $5/month boost for 2019; qualified households can now get a bill credit of $30-$60 every month. Showing your Energy Assist credit on your bill to Rock Island, they will give you the same discount on broadband services. Check out ProjectPAL and Energy Assist programs at www.opalco.com to learn more.

There will also be a new line item on monthly bills: Energy Charge Adjustment. Weather variations in recent years make an accurate prediction of temperature, and therefore energy usage for heating a challenge. The ECA has new components: an automated monthly recurring true-up the fluctuation in revenue subject to board approval and invoked on an as-needed basis. Watch that line and see a pattern of credits and surcharges over the course of the year. Spreading this revenue volatility out on monthly bills avoids a larger true-up at year end.