In November, we announced that the FreeState board of trustees is proposing an electric service charge adjustment. In December, we discussed the drivers that are increasing costs, and in this issue, we’re discussing the proposal the board will vote on during the January 16 special meeting.
The trustees and staff know there is never a good time to adjust, but the current state of economics has dictated that an adjustment be made. Internally, we have modified budgets and adapted. We’ve curbed spending and looked at critical operations, but supply chain challenges, record inflation, and the volatility in the natural gas market have been outside of our control. They are driving the decision to adjust now.
These factors have been the most significant when considering basic operating expenses. It just costs us more to do business and provide you with power.
The cooperative has absorbed as many increasing costs as possible to take the burden off the member for the past five years. We've successfully delayed or diverted the cost-of-service studies or other costly changes, but we’ve come to a point where that is just a much more significant challenge. We need to be more proactive. We cannot control or predict what will happen with inflation, interest rates, and supply chain issues.
The best way we know how to meet these challenges is to be nimble and more proactive than reactive, especially when costs are unpredictable. The trustees decided that the time to act is now.
The trustees are proposing an incremental adjustment rather than one more significant adjustment later. We know it is not the best time, but we know a minor modification now will be easier than a larger lump sum adjustment for our members.
In this issue, we have more information about our plan, the process, and how this impacts each of you. There will be a time for member comments, feedback, and input. We will be holding a special meeting on January 16 that will be in-person and online, allowing all members to participate in the process.
This proposed $7 addition in 2023 and an additional $2 in 2024 will be implemented in February 2023 and February 2024. The cooperative is focused on equity and providing reliable power to our members, so these adjustments are necessary.
We invite and encourage our members to reach out and provide feedback. Your voice is the cooperative difference at work.
To make comments, please visit www.freestate.coop/adjustment, where you'll find an online form to provide input and other information about the proposed adjustment. Members can provide comments and feedback until January 9, and the trustees will vote on Monday, January 16. The board will review all feedback before the vote.