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Wheatland Board to Consider Rate Change Proposals at September Board Meeting

Wheatland Electric Cooperative Inc., Board of Trustees is considering two changes to its rates. The Board will discuss and vote on these changes at its September 2016 meeting. Neither of the changes will affect existing members unless they choose to participate. One is an optional General Service High Load Factor Rate Rider where qualifying members who receive electricity and are billed under the General Service tariff may receive reductions in their monthly billing. The other is the Grid Access Charge, which will affect new distributed generation members.

Optional General Service High Load Factor Rate Rider

When Wheatland Electric Cooperative implemented its rate increase for the entire membership in April 2016, we announced plans for a new optional General Service High Load Factor Rate Rider for members on the General Service tariff who have extremely high energy usage. Members in this particular sub-set of the General Service tariff received a somewhat higher percentage increase under the new rates as compared to the average rate increase. 

The Wheatland Board will discuss and vote on a new Optional High Load Factor Rider for members who receive electricity and are billed under the General Service tariff. The rider will provide a monthly billing credit for members with high load factors. This rider will only be applicable to Wheatland’s standard General Service tariff, and not to its General Service Time of Use or Large General Service tariffs, or any other tariff.

The rider is beneficial to both members who receive electricity and are billed under the General Service tariff and potentially to Wheatland members as a whole. The individual member can see a reduction in monthly billing, but only if they maintain a high load factor.

Wheatland’s other members benefit as well because high load factors generally result in a lower average cost of power, which flows through to all Wheatland members through a lower monthly Energy Cost Adjustment.

No member will pay more under the rider than under the General Service tariff, and each member may decide for him or herself if he or she wishes to participate. Wheatland may temporarily see a small reduction in margins but does not anticipate this amount to cause cost shifting among rate classes or failure to meet its financial goals and objectives.

Grid Access Charge

The Grid Access Charge will add a monthly charge to allow Wheatland to recover from distributed generation members the cost of providing them electric service each month. All existing net metering and renewable members will be grandfathered under their existing tariffs.

Currently, Wheatland recovers a portion of its fixed costs for providing service (tree trimming, line maintenance, meter costs, debt payments, etc.) from the monthly service availability charge. But, when members move to a net metering rate, that cost recovery is reduced, because the member averts kilowatt-hour (kWh) consumption. Wheatland firmly supports providing each net metering member with a benefit related to reduced power costs that are based on reductions in Wheatland’s cost of power. However, Wheatland’s fixed costs of providing service unrelated to generation or power must be shared by all members equally.

Since all current members will continue to be billed under their existing tariff, this proposed change will have no effect on Wheatland’s revenue.

C.H. Guernsey, our rate consultant, has assisted Wheatland with both new rate changes.

The Wheatland Board of Trustees and management are sensitive to and recognize that any change to rates is very important to the members. By now, you should have received a notification in the mail about a meeting in which the Board of Trustees will be discussing and voting on these rate proposals. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 27, 2016, at 9 a.m. at the following location: Wheatland Broadband office (Bryan Conference Center), 416 S Main, Scott City, KS 67871. The portion of the meeting where rates are discussed is open to all members who wish to attend.

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