Flathead Electric announces no rate increase, change in billing

Given the current economic challenges many Co-op members are facing, the Flathead Electric Cooperative (FEC) Board of Trustees is especially pleased to announce that, for the second year in a row, they have decided against any increase in total rate revenue collected from members for the coming year. The Board also approved a revenue-neutral change to the residential rate which includes a decrease in the Energy Charge (kWh) and an increase in the Demand Charge (kW).

Over time, the way FEC is charged by its wholesale power provider, the Bonneville Power Administration, has changed. The Co-op now pays a premium for power used during peak hours. This adjustment is designed to more fairly collect the Co-op’s costs and give members more control over their electric bills.

Some residential members will see their bills decrease since it costs the Co-op less to serve them power. Likewise, members with a higher demand during peak hours could see a slight increase in their bills. With this change, most residential members’ bills will decrease or increase by less than two percent, depending on how they use electricity.

The demand charge is based on the highest demand measured during the Co-op’s peak hours in each member’s billing cycle.

Peak hours occur Monday through Friday from 7 to 10 a.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. (no weekends or major federal holidays). The demand charge will be set at $0.56/kW for the coming year.

Respectively, FEC’s energy charge (the amount billed for each kilowatt hour (kWh) consumed) will decrease by 1.2% for the Block 1 energy charge (0-600 kWh), by 2.4% for the Block 2 energy charge (601-3,500 kWh), and by 2.4% for the Block 3 energy charge (3,501 kWh and above). These changes will be reflected on residential electric bills issued on or after June 1, 2020.

In addition to collecting costs more equitably, the demand charge gives FEC members another opportunity to control their bill. Previously, using less energy was the only way to reduce bills. Now, shifting energy usage to off-peak hours, and/or avoiding the simultaneous use of large appliances during peak hours will reduce demand and decrease residential bills.

For more information, or to use FEC’s residential rate calculator to see exactly how this change will impact your electric bill, visit www.flathead electric.com/demand.

Submitted by Wendy Ostrom Price

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