By Tom Sobeck, President & CEO

Looking back over the past three years, I’ve written about our challenges and the importance of our commitment to you and our mission. With that in mind, I join several of my co-op peers across the state by dedicating this month’s column to discussing upcoming rate increases.

While the year is new, our challenges haven’t changed much. We live in times when uncertainty seems to be the norm, particularly concerning energy costs. The transition away from carbon-based energy production will continue to pose threats to reliability and affordability, which, in turn, pose the same challenges to us all. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) continues to express concern over the availability of electric generating capacity during peak events. This concerns us in Michigan and the Midwest and will continue to do so until the transition away from carbon to other energy sources has either slowed or become more reliable. Of course, during this transition, we will experience increased costs as it becomes more expensive to generate electricity. This year, for example, our cost to secure energy from our supplier has gone up and will result in an increase of 4 mills per kilowatt hour to you. This is approximately $2.80 per month for our average member using 670 kilowatt-hours. The Power Supply Cost Recovery (PSCR) Factor* increase will be effective with bills produced after Jan. 31, 2023. Our cost to procure natural gas energy is under the same pressure and will also likely increase on April 1, 2023.

In addition to rising energy costs, nearly all materials (poles, wire, meters, transformers, gas pipe, etc.) needed to deliver energy to your homes and businesses continue to increase in price as well. How that will impact our rates, and your wallet, will become clearer once a review of our financial results for 2022 is completed. Likely, I will once again be writing about increased costs for both electric and natural gas delivery in a few months.

And so, while the year is still new, our challenges and commitment remain the same—managing our costs to deliver energy while maintaining the reliability of service so your lights stay on and your furnace keeps running. To help you control your energy costs by managing your energy consumption, we offer various options through our Energy Optimization programs. Please read more about cost-savings measures at pieg.com/energy-optimization.

As we look forward to the year ahead, we recognize and embrace our commitment to familiar challenges. Your electric cooperative will continue to work to keep costs down, employ innovative ideas in work processes, and support policies that result in keeping a reliable supply of energy available to our member homes and businesses.

*Read more about the PSCR Factor on page 16 of this month’s Country Lines issue.

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