August 28, 2017
Matanuska Electric Association (MEA), Palmer, AK: The Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA), approved MEA’s rate case, including adjustments to the cooperative’s revenue requirement and rate design. This was the final step in MEA’s transition to a self-generating utility from an all-requirements power purchaser.
The June 30, 2017 filing includes an overall 2.75 percent total increase to base rates. Because base rates account for only part of a monthly bill, a typical MEA member, using 680 kWh, will see less than a 1% increase to the overall monthly bill of about $1.12 per month.
“Prompt approval means cost savings for MEA members,” reports Tony Izzo. “It is a direct reflection of the hard work and careful planning from our Board, management team and employees.”
Members will see changes to the two components of their bills that make up base rates – the Facilities Charge (a fixed monthly charge that allows recovery of some of the infrastructure necessary to deliver power) and the Energy Charge (the cost per kWh used).
The Facilities Charge will increase to $13.00 (from $5.65) for single phase users and to $30.00 (from $13.37) for three-phase users. This is the first increase of this flat monthly charge since 1999 despite the rising cost of doing business and brings MEA’s charge closer to the average of the other Railbelt utilities.
The increase of this monthly charge allows the per-kWh ‘Energy Charge’ to decrease for MEA’s typical member (from $0.12556 to $0.11640 per kWh). This will have a leveling impact to most members’ bills and reduce seasonal fluctuations. The change also ensures high energy users are not subsidizing low energy users.
“The adjustment to our base rate structure means that the cost per-kWh is less for our members,” remarked Izzo. “This will be helpful during the upcoming winter season.”
Other changes from the approved rate case include:
- Closing the undersubscribed Off-Peak Thermal Storage program to new applicants. However, current members of the program will be grandfathered in at their current residence.
- Addition of an optional Standby and Buyback service for small power producers who do not meet the definition of a Qualifying Facility under the RCA’s regulations.
- A new LED streetlight service.
- Removal of several unused experimental rate services.
- Revised contract path transmission rates and a new Large Power Contract service.
The RCA approval process for this filing included a standard 30-day public notice and comment period. The approved changes will take affect September 1, 2017.
Matanuska Electric Association, Inc., Alaska’s oldest existing and second-largest electric cooperative, is owned and operated by its 50,000 members. MEA’s service area covers more than 4,300 miles of power lines in Southcentral Alaska. The co-op is dedicated to working with utilities statewide to provide consumers with affordable, reliable energy. More information at www.mea.coop.