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Flathead Electric Co-op adjusts rates by just over 1%

by Whitefish Pilot
| June 7, 2023 1:00 AM

Flathead Electric Cooperative’s democratically elected Board of Trustees recently approved an overall rate adjustment of 1.11% effective with bills issued on or after June 1, 2023.

Mark Johnson, Co-op General Manager, reflected, “Costs for essentials like power poles, bucket trucks and transformers have exponentially increased, along with our area’s population, but we have been able to stay steady through these changes. I’m pleased our trustees were able to achieve a 0% overall rate increase over the last four years, and to adjust rates by only 1.11% this year.”

According to a release, FEC purchases the vast majority of its members’ electricity from the Bonneville Power Administration’s (BPA) hydropower system. Over 82% of the Co-op’s fuel mix comes from large hydro projects, and over 97% of its overall fuel mix is carbon-free. Hydropower provides some of the most affordable, reliable electricity in the nation.

FEC says last year was one of the strongest hydropower years on record. Because of hydro’s strength, BPA issued a power rate refund to the Co-op. The Co-op’s Trustees used the bulk of that refund to stabilize rates. The Trustees also returned approximately $8 million directly to members via Capital Credits issued in December 2022.

“The Co-op’s concern for our community during these challenging years of pandemic shutdowns, supply chain disruptions, and inflation has helped us dig deep to find many ways to keep rates affordable for our members,” says Tia Robbin, Assistant General Manager for Administrative Services. “There’s a lot of talk about rapidly increasing electric rates across the nation, and in other parts of Montana. We’re grateful that our access to affordable hydropower has helped to keep our rates stable.”

To learn more about the rate adjustment, visit flatheadelectric.com/rates.