Over the past few months, I’ve been communicating with you about DMEA’s need to increase rates. While there are many elements that impact what you pay DMEA for electricity, the most substantial item is power supply—a.k.a. what we pay Tri-State for wholesale electricity. Power supply accounts for 64% of DMEA’s operational expenses, so holding that cost steady would allow us to, in turn, hold your rates steady. Unfortunately, this is not the case today.
Over the last 5 years, DMEA has experienced more than a 7% increase in our power supply costs. As a result, we passed along a rate increase in 2017 to our members and have spent the last two years working to control internal costs. And we’ve made progress, but it’s not enough.
Just like your cost of living continues to increase, so does DMEA’s overall cost of doing business. These increases, like fuel, supplies, vehicles, or computer software, directly impact the access fee on your bill. And, ultimately, controllable costs only make up a small percentage of DMEA’s overall expenses, just 20%.
We can no longer absorb the upward pricing pressure from Tri-State nor the increased cost of doing business. As a result, your DMEA Board of Directors and management staff are recommending a rate increase to take effect in September 2019. The proposed rates are listed in this newsletter and online at www.dmea.com.
I encourage you to review the proposal. You’ll see changes in almost every rate class, from residential (homeowners) to industrial, as well as in both the energy charge and the access fee. It is never an easy decision for DMEA to implement a rate increase, nor an easy adjustment for you to make. I want you to know, even with this proposed increase, DMEA’s rates remain at the median for our state and among the lowest in Western Colorado. In fact, compared to other Tri-State Colorado co-ops, we currently have the 5th lowest member rates; 14 of our fellow Tri-State Colorado co-op’s come in higher, including our all of our neighbors in Western Colorado.
DMEA’s Board of Directors will take comments on the proposed rates during the rate hearing at our regular August meeting:
DMEA Rate Hearing | Tues., August 27 @ 5PM | DMEA Montrose office, 11925 6300 Rd.
If you are unable to attend the rate hearing, you may send your comments to be reviewed by your board representatives. Send your written comments to DMEA Rate Comments, PO Box 910, Montrose, CO 81402 or email comments to [email protected].
After reviewing member comments, and discussion at the hearing, the board will also vote on the proposed increases. If approved, the rate changes will go into effect on September 1, 2019. If you have questions about how these changes may affect your account or what steps you might be able to take to consume less energy, please contact our energy services team at 877-687-3632.