Delaware Electric Co-op proposes rate decrease

GREENWOOD — Delaware Electric Cooperative President and CEO Bill Andrew is proposing the seemingly unthinkable — a rate decrease for all 93,000 member-owners in Kent and Sussex counties who receive their power from the company.

Mr. Andrew requested the rate change and if approved by the company’s board of directors at a public meeting on Feb. 15, rates for those served by Delaware Electric Cooperative would drop about 5 percent.

The rate decrease would save the average family using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity $6 per month, or $72 per year.

If approved by the board, the rate decrease will take effect March 1.

Mr. Andrew said that while the co-op’s rates have been adjusted periodically over the past decade, they remain the lowest in Delaware.

According to the co-op, its members save an estimated $300 per year in energy costs, compared to the average rates charged by Delaware’s other electric utilities.

Mr. Andrew added that it is the job of an electric cooperative to keep rates as low as possible for its customers.

“Electric cooperatives were founded to provide safe and reliable energy to members at the lowest possible cost,” he said. “We are excited to be able to lower rates for everyone at a time when the cost of everything else seems to be going up.

“Wholesale power costs are falling and at DEC, we work hard to keep other costs under control, maintain an efficient workforce and promote programs like Beat the Peak. We’re not in business to make a profit for shareholders; we work to offer the greatest value to our co-op members. If there is leftover money, we give it back to our members.”

Beat the Peak is a voluntary program where members conserve energy during times when the price of energy is high.

The proposed rate decrease would result from a series of changes to how members’ bills are calculated. The power cost adjustment would be lowered and the delivery charge would be increased, resulting in a net five percent decrease for all members in all rate classes.

The co-op’s board of directors will hold a public hearing on the proposed changes on Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. at Delaware Electric Cooperative’s headquarters at 14198 Sussex Highway in Greenwood.

After hearing comments from members during the meeting the Board will vote on the proposal.

Mr. Andrew said that while the co-op is able to lower rates right now, there is no guarantee rates will not have to be changed in the future.

“The energy markets are constantly fluctuating and changes in the weather, natural gas supplies and government regulations could all result in rate changes down the road,” said Mr. Andrew.

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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