By: Tom Sobeck, PIE&G President & CEO

I have highlighted the competitiveness of our energy rates over the past year, and it’s always reassuring to see that we continue to compare favorably with our peers when it comes to delivering affordable energy. Still, comparing favorably doesn’t mean our rates will never increase. The nature of our operations entails not only a constant vigilance to repair, replace, and maintain infrastructure to meet reliability standards, but the need to modernize facilities and keep up to date with technology. These efforts and investments come with ever-increasing expenses, which will affect rates. That balance between reliability and affordability is a complex equation that requires a thorough analysis of all relevant issues. Furthermore, we must also determine the allocations and proportionate shares of any increase to each rate class, whether to increase the volume or kWh charge, the fixed monthly charge, or both—all in an equitable manner.

By now, I’m sure you realize that electric rates will be increasing soon. Natural gas rates were raised at our February board meeting; the rate change will take effect April 1. Our review indicated that we only needed to increase the cost of the gas portion of that rate. That’s not the case with electric rates. Rate reviews are a complicated process, and we’ll announce the results in our May issue of Country Lines.

On a final note, April 18 is National Lineworker Appreciation Day, but I would like to acknowledge all of our teams. Our lineworkers and all employees work long hours during outage restorations and throughout our construction season. Much of their work is done behind the scenes, without fanfare or public acknowledgment. Our board of directors and I take this opportunity to do just that for all of them. We recognize your work and appreciate all of our employees’ dedication and service.