Steamboat Springs Yampa Valley Electric Association customers may soon see rates rise 3 percent to 5 percent, according to officials from the region's energy co-op.
"I just received notification that Xcel Energy plans to increase rates to YVEA in 2008," YVEA President and General Manager Larry Covillo said in a news release. "The exact amount of the increase is not being divulged by Xcel Energy at this time."
YVEA spokesman Jim Chappell said Xcel officials alluded to at least a $1 million rate increase during informal discussions.
"We are hoping to know in the next seven to 10 days what the Xcel rate increase is going to be," he said. "They give us little hints, and they give us some numbers that were originally going be about $1 million to us. Then, just early last week, (Xcel indicated) it could be a little more than $1 million."
YVEA's rates have remained stable the past six years, but the possible 2008 rate increase may be followed with subsequent rate increases in the near future.
"I can tell you that the other large energy generation company in state - Tri-State Generation, their numbers have seen a 10 percent increase the last couple years," Chappell said Tuesday. "I think their projects are going to be in the 5 to 10 percent range this year. : We've been steady, but I can't predict what energy generation rates are going to be in the future for our region."
Chappell said YVEA's rates are below the state and national averages, which he attributed to a number of factors, including frugal spending, residential and business growth in the Yampa Valley, and stable rates from Xcel Energy.
The decision to raise rates are discussed every December after reviewing the year's financial statements with YVEA's Board of Directors.
"The association is having a good year financially, even though the year-to-date revenue from sales of electricity to members is lower than budget," Covillo said. "The reduction in revenue is being offset by a reduction in a cost of purchased power from Xcel Energy."
Covillo estimated about 570 new customers will require electricity in 2008, down from his estimate of 620 new customers he predicted for 2007. He also predicted a 3 percent increase in electric sales for 2008.
"Operating expenses are also projected to increase slightly," he said. "It is hoped that our efforts to make electricity as economical as possible will benefit everyone served by the association."
YVEA is a nonprofit, member-owned association that serves more than 25,000 customers in Routt and Moffat counties.