YVEA customers could see rate hike | SteamboatToday.com

YVEA customers could see rate hike

About $5 per month increase for average use possible beginning in January

Zach Fridell

— Starting in 2010, all Yampa Valley Electric Association customers could see an increase of as much as 7 percent on monthly bills because of an increase in wholesale prices from Xcel Energy. For residential customers, that comes to an average increase of $5.04 per month.

YVEA President and General Manager Larry Covillo said he was notified of the increase from wholesale energy supplier Xcel Energy on Aug. 24.

On Oct. 30, Xcel filed the increased rates with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Covillo said he hopes to negotiate with Xcel to reduce that rate but that so far there has been little communication between the companies. YVEA must file its rate with the regulatory agency by Nov. 20.

YVEA buys 95 percent of its energy from Xcel, and the total increase to the company will be $3.3 million per year. Covillo said that when the wholesale rates increased in June 2008, the company decided to absorb the $1.25 million in losses. This time around, he said, the company "just can't absorb another $3.3" million.

The rate increase to customers only will cover the $3.3 million increase, he said. The increase will apply to all YVEA customers. The average residential customer uses 840 kilowatt-hours per month during the course of a year. Covillo said that in November, a customer who used the average amount of electricity would pay $59.85. That cost fluctuates from month to month, however, based on fuel costs.

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Even though the increase from Xcel was filed with federal regulators, Covillo said it's not yet a done deal. He said YVEA plans to file a delay in the proceedings because it objects to several portions of Xcel's filing and plans to try to negotiate a lower rate.

The YVEA board will decide at the November meeting how to add the additional cost to the bill. The board can choose to add $5 to the consumer charge, a $12.50 surcharge each month, or to the cost per kilowatt-hour.

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