By Vin Nitido
It was nice to see so many of you at the Annual Meeting on April 8. I really enjoy interacting with our Members and answering your questions. Unfortunately, with the format required to complete the business portion of the meeting, we often don’t have enough time to answer all of the great questions we get.
After the meeting, I received several questions about the changes in Trico’s residential Time of Use Rate. As a result of our rate case that was implemented March 1 of this year, the average residential Member who uses 837 kilowatt hours a month will see about a $2 monthly increase. Residential Members on the Time of Use (TOU) rate however, will have a higher increase. That is because the rate does not provide an incentive to Members to use energy in a way that benefits Members and the Cooperative collectively. Trico’s wholesale power contracts currently don’t provide reduced pricing for energy purchased by the Cooperative during off-peak hours. When Members use power during off-peak times, the cost for Trico to provide that power does not change.
If you are currently on TOU, you can remain on the rate. In the rate case, the Arizona Corporation Commission adopted an order freezing the TOU rate, meaning it cannot be offered to additional Members going forward.
We are working with our energy providers to create pricing that better reflects the actual cost of power during the time it is used. We want to provide a proper price incentive to our Members, which will reward the use of energy in a way that will benefit everyone over the long run. Equally important, the rate case represents the first step toward creating a rate structure that moves away from recovering the cost of building, maintaining and financing the electric grid through energy sales, to one that rewards a reduction in the maximum amount of energy you use at any point. That provides long-term benefits by reducing the amount of electric distribution system, transmission and generation we have to build, buy and maintain in the future.
This year we are going to be reaching out to you to talk about these things, and most important, to hear from you. There is no substitute for communication with our Members, and understanding your perspective and concerns as we move forward.