Electric company plugs in higher rate

Customers who get their power from the Delta-Montrose Electric Association will see their rates go up again next year, a repeat of this year. Average bills for residential service are likely to rise about $7 more a month, the utility cooperative said.

The cost of buying wholesale power from DMEA’s provider, Tri-State Generation and Transmission, was again cited as the direct reason for the increase in the price of electricity for customers.

“No longer in the financial position to absorb any more wholesale price increases, DMEA proposed the 2014 rate increase in order to keep from going under,” a recent press release reads.

The new rates go into effect starting next month.

Last year, Tri-State raised the rates it charges the electric association for wholesale power by 4.9 percent. The utility cooperative then raised its 2013 rates by 5 percent as a consequence.

Tri-State is under unique pressure this year, as the large regional power provider most affected by the recent passage of SB 252 — a measure that boosted Tri-State’s renewable energy requirement from 10 percent to 25 percent by the year 2020.

In committee testimony during the bill’s debate, Tri-State officials said the new law could cost them $2 billion to 
$4 billion to comply. As advertised, those costs are being passed down to Tri-State customers like DMEA, technically one of many “member-owners” of Tri-State.

DMEA provides electricity to just more than 32,000 accounts, mostly in the rural areas and communities of Delta and Montrose counties. Nearly 90 percent of its customer base is residential users.

The energy cooperative with coverage in the Grand Junction area is Grand Valley Power, which purchases their wholesale power from Xcel Energy. Xcel faces its own renewable energy mandates independent of SB 252.


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