Power Supply Decisions Result in Decreasing Bills for 2020
At a time when the cost of most products and services are on the rise, Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative’s (MEC) Members—those receiving their electric service from the member-owned power provider—will experience a rate reduction to their electric bills effective January 1, 2020. This decrease is a result of a reduction in MEC’s wholesale power costs. The Wholesale Power Cost Adjustment (WPCA) charge will decrease 27.65 percent, resulting in a savings of over $5 per month for the average user on the Farm and Home Rate Schedule using 1,077 kWh per month. By year-end, these savings will total over $60.
The savings are the result of a reduction of what MEC pays for the electricity it delivers to its members from power supplier Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC). ODEC is a wholly owned subsidiary of 11 electric cooperatives, including MEC, across Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. ODEC is led by a 22-member board of directors with two representatives from each of its parent Cooperatives. MEC Board chairman David Jones and MEC president and CEO John Lee serve on the ODEC Board of Directors and Lee is, in fact, vice chairman of that Board. Accordingly, ODEC is driven to aggressively manage its expenses whether generating electric energy through facilities it owns, purchasing power through long-term contracts, or whatever combination of the two allows it to achieve the lowest overall cost.
Lee comments, “We are very pleased with MEC to be successfully driving down our wholesale power costs. Doing so in this day and time is quite a feat given that energy markets constantly fluctuate, wholesale rate changes are influenced by supply and demand pressures, transmission system expenses are on the rise, and ever-changing government regulations have a substantial cost impact on almost everything we do.”
“Additionally, MEC operates as a not-for-profit electric utility, our users are ‘Members’ rather than ‘customers;’ and any cost savings that our Cooperative generates directly benefit those we serve. These reductions show our continued commitment to controlling costs and exercising sensibility with our Members’ money in our day-to-day operations. We are prudent with our members’ money...we strive to make every dollar go as far as possible while maintaining high levels of reliability and customer service, and always doing the right thing by those we serve,” he added.
Lee states, “As we have initiated necessary updates to aging electrical equipment on our system, we have managed to keep costs down by meticulous and responsible planning and reducing expenses wherever possible. However, due to the continuation of needed upgrades, stagnant growth throughout our service territory, and the ever-increasing expense of managing vegetation on our 4,000 plus miles of rights-of-way, our Energy Delivery and Consumer Delivery charges are increasing by five percent the first of the year. However, most importantly, the net effect of all these changes is a substantive reduction in what our members pay on their power bill.”
Jones remarks, “The Board and staff at MEC focus on managing every dollar-- which is simply a must in today’s rural economy. We have been able to mitigate the rising costs of the services and materials we use to build and maintain MEC’s system by reducing costs wherever possible and doing so successfully allows us to maintain consistent and affordable rates. When we govern as ODEC Directors, John and I follow that same strategy of responsibly managing costs from our power supplier and work to make the most prudent long-term generation and power supply decisions...this reduction confirms we’re making sound decisions.”