The Board of Trustees will vote on the proposed electric service charge adjustment in front of them.
FreeState trustees have a proposed electric service charge adjustment in front of them.
The trustees understand that there is never a good time to make adjustments, but the pandemic puts things into perspective. We modified and adapted. We kept the lights on. We rode a wave of reduced revenue, we absorbed costs when revenue steeply fell as our neighbors were out of work and businesses closed their doors. We have begun to bounce back and we hope better days continue.
We’ve been talking about this adjustment since March, and then the pandemic took over, and any talk of adjustments took a back seat to respond to members and keeping employees safe.
But other factors have been outside of FreeState’s control. The most significant of those factors is basic operating expenses. Costs that have increased are environmental regulation costs, property taxes, materials, labor and transportation.
The co-op has absorbed these costs to take the burden off our members for the past four years. We’ve delayed or diverted cost of service studies or other costly changes. However, it has come to the point where it will be difficult to continue to absorb these costs. We need to be more proactive, especially when weather patterns have slowed sales, margins have slimmed, and costs continue to rise.
The trustees have decided that the time to be proactive is now. We are proposing a small incremental adjustment rather than a more significant alteration later. We understand it may not be the best time, but we also know slight modifications will be better for our members.
There will be a time for member comments, feedback and input. So that all members have the opportunity to participate in this process, we will live broadcast the Oct. 28 special meeting where the board will take action on the proposal.
The adjustment will go into effect on the February 2021 billing statement. Members will see a $3 adjustment each month in 2021. A $1 adjustment per month is also proposed for 2022, 2023 and 2024. The proposed adjustment of $6 over the next four years is across the board and equal for all rates on FreeState’s system.
We invite and encourage all of our members to provide feedback.
To make comments, please visit www.freestate.coop/adjustment where you will find an online form to provide input and other information about the proposed adjustment. The board will review all feedback before the vote, which will take place on Oct. 28.