At Sac Osage Electric Cooperative we have a clear mandate from our members: Provide the most reliable service at the lowest reasonable cost. The Cooperative board, management and employees take that fundamental principle very seriously. Since 2018 Sac Osage has covered its cost and had revenue to return to the membership without increasing the rates our members pay, but steady inflation has been eating away at our margins.
In 2023 the ever-increasing cost of service would have required an increase in electric rates if it were not for revenue coming in from the fiber to the home project. As our members are aware, costs in all areas continued to go up.
This year the Cooperative cannot fulfill its financial obligations without a rate increase. The major driver of increasing costs is the cost of electricity from our power supplier. Due to higher demands set by the membership, the demand cost Sac Osage will pay in 2024 will be more than $500,000 higher than in 2023. Kilowatt hour energy charges will also increase from our power supplier starting in April, meaning we expect our power bill to be 1.2 million dollars more than it was in 2023.
Unfortunately, energy costs are not the only drivers of Sac Osage rates. The Cooperative has experienced the same 22% inflation that has impacted our members since 2018. This is why all four parts of Sac Osage Electric Cooperative’s rates will be impacted. The service availability will go to $35.00. The peak demand will be $7.50/kW. The off-peak demand will be $1.80/kW. And the kilowatt hour rate will be 7¢ per kilowatt hour (still one of the lowest kwh rates in the nation).
The decision to raise rates weighs heavily on the board and management of the cooperative. Now more than ever, we want to do everything we can to provide the best service to our members and help them get the most out of their electricity.
Three things that I have tested in my own house to lower our electric bill:
Keep the washer and dryer off during peak times.
Put a timer on your water heater.
Set the dishwasher to run outside of the on-peak hours, 6AM to 9AM and 4PM to 7PM.
We also want to encourage members to take advantage of home improvement rebates which will lower your overall electric usage. Through Associated Electric Cooperative, our members can receive rebates on things like new and replacement heating and cooling systems, smart thermostats, an energy audit for their home and home improvements that the energy audit suggests.
The necessary rate increase will go into effect starting April 1st. Members will see the new rates on the bill they receive in May. These changes will allow Sac Osage to continue to provide the reliable 24-hour service our members have come to expect. We were gratified to go through the last 5 years without increasing rates, and we believe we are continuing to provide an incredibly valuable service at the most reasonable cost. We hope our members agree.