The mission of Decatur County REMC states: To provide reliable, affordable, friendly service to our members and communities. As a member-owned cooperative, we understand the value and contribution each member makes in sustaining the organization and consider financial management one of our greatest tasks.
Our system, infrastructure, and membership are continuously changing and we must adjust accordingly. To accommodate any changes and ensure that our rates recover our costs to serve you effectively, efficiently, and fairly, we periodically conduct a cost of service study with an independent consultant.
As I communicated a few months ago, we recently conducted this study. Our team of directors have carefully evaluated and discussed its results. The goal as your electric cooperative is to charge members only what is necessary to operate your electric co-op. The cost of service study highlights areas that may be out of alignment with the goal due to growth or changes within rate classes. We then work to establish rates and rate classes that prevent any group or rate class from paying more or less than its fair share of costs, reiterating our goal of fair and equitable rates for all.
Based on our findings, a minimal rate increase is necessary for the cooperative to sustain its desired level of service and reliability to our members. The board has approved an overall rate increase of 1.28 percent, effective April 1, 2019. This overall increase may look different among member classes. In addition to the overall rate increase, we will be restructuring our rate classes to best meet member needs. More detailed rate information will be coming soon.
DCREMC’s last rate increase in 2014 introduced an overall increase of 3.09 percent. Those rates were designed to last three years. Since that time, we have experienced changes in our load type and membership. We also implemented an aggressive right-of-way program, which was not accounted for in the 2014 rate increase. Consequently, our continued cost-savings efforts have allowed us to add programs and services for our members while making the established rate base last longer than anticipated.
In keeping with the “cooperative difference,” we continue to be committed to reliability and valuable service through programs like the right-of-way program, our advanced metering system, our residential and commercial/industrial incentive programs, and our account management and bill pay options through SmartHub. Additionally, DCREMC continues to return any excess funds, or margins, we have at the end of the year, back to you (our members) in the form of capital credits.
We will provide more details and communication regarding the upcoming rate change and value your feedback through the process. Our team is here for you. I encourage you to stop in, email (email@example.com), or call 812-663-3391 with questions. We value the relationship we have with our members, and I thank you for the trust you’ve placed in us.