Manager’s Message

Inside Ruralite, Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – October 2017

New Rate Structure Effective with November Billing

In late July, the Bonneville Power Administration announced a regionwide rate increase of 5.4 percent to its wholesale power rates to the region’s utilities. The increase stems from higher costs to operate and maintain the aging hydro system, higher long-term fish and wildlife costs, upgrades to an aging transmission system and reduced revenues from surplus power sales due to lower market prices for energy.

In anticipation of this rate increase, Wasco Electric started a rate review process late last year with a consulting firm that conducted a cost-of-service analysis. The goals of this study were to create a rate structure that fairly allocated costs among the different rate classifications to eliminate particular classifications from subsidizing the other rate classes, as well as separate the fixed costs of the cooperative from the variable energy costs.

After several months of reviewing different rate options, in August the board of directors adopted a new rate structure with an eight-year phase-in to get to the true cost of service and create cost equalization among rate classifications.

The first year of this new rate structure will result in an overall increase in revenue from rates of 3.2 percent. The actual increase in rates among the rate classifications will vary from no increase to a 7.67 percent increase, depending on that classification’s current contribution to the overall financial needs of the cooperative.

A complete breakdown of the rate changes among the different classifications that will go into effect with your November billing statement.

Director Elections

The Wasco Electric Cooperative nominating committee, consisting of members from each director district, met September 6 to nominate candidates for election at this year’s annual meeting.

This year’s candidates for election to three-year terms as director are:

  • District 1: Mathew Clausen, incumbent. Two nominees declined nomination.
  • District 2: Ron Holmes, incumbent; and Stacy Eakin. Two nominees declined nomination.
  • District 3: DeOra Patton, incumbent; four nominees declined nomination.

These candidates are up for election at the 78th Annual Meeting of Wasco Electric Cooperative on Saturday, November 18. I invite each of you to attend.

If you are unable to attend, absentee ballots and the annual meeting booklet will be mailed at the end of October. I encourage each member to vote on the leadership of the cooperative.

As always, if you have any questions regarding any aspect of your cooperative, feel free to stop by or give us a call.

Jeff Davis
General Manager

Inside Ruralite, Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – September 2017

2017 Annual Meeting

The 78th Annual Meeting of Wasco Electric Cooperative Inc. is Saturday, November 18, at the Fort Dalles Readiness Center in The Dalles.

During the meeting, members will vote on three director positions that will be expiring—one from each of the three districts.

At the August board meeting, the board of directors appointed the nominating committee, which will select candidates to run for the three positions up for election.

The committee will meet in early September. If you are a member willing to serve on the board of directors, please let us know. We will pass on your name to the nominating committee members.

WECare Donations

Each year, the cooperative reaches out to its members asking for their support of those less fortunate who struggle to make financial ends meet. Your contributions to our WECare program help many families each year. We ask for your support again this month.

With your September power bill is a donation card with which you can help support your friends and neighbors. Please see page 8 of this month’s issue for more information about the benefits of this program.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about your cooperative, please call or stop by the office.

Jeff Davis
General Manager

Carousel, Inside Ruralite, Manager's Message

2017 Annual Meeting

Although November is several months away, preparations for Wasco Electric Cooperative’s 78th annual meeting are underway. The meeting is Saturday, November 18, at the Fort Dalles Readiness Center, 402 E. Scenic Drive, The Dalles.

During the meeting, members will vote on three expiring director positions—one from each of the three districts.

At its August meeting, the board of directors will appoint the member committee that nominates candidates to run for those positions. This committee will meet in early September.

If you are a member willing to serve on the board of directors, please let us know. We will give your name to the nominating committee members for consideration. See page 8 of this issue for more information.

Current directors whose terms are expiring and will seek re-election this year are Mathew Clausen, District 1, serving on the board since 2014 and the current treasurer; Ron Holmes, District 2, serving on the board since 2008 and the current president; and DeOra Patton, District 3, serving on the board since 2005.

August Events

August is a busy time of year for many end-of-summer activities. Below is a list of several signature events taking place this month. I hope you can take in some, if not all, of these great events.

  • Saturday, August 5, and Sunday, August 6: Shaniko Days
  • Friday, August 11, through Sunday, August 13: Cruise the Gorge, The Dalles
  • Saturday, August 12, and Sunday, August 13: Vintage Dufur Days
  • Thursday, August 24, through Sunday, August 27: Wasco County Fair & Rodeo, Tygh Valley
  • Wednesday, August 23, through Sunday, August 27: Sherman County Fair & Rodeo, Moro

As always, if you have any questions about your cooperative, please feel free to call or stop by the office.

Jeff Davis
General Manager

Manager's Message

Power Rate Increase

Last month, the Bonneville Power Administration published its draft record of decision on the wholesale power and transmission rates for fiscal years 2018 and 2019, beginning October 1, 2017.

In this release, BPA announced a regionwide average increase of 5.5 percent in wholesale power rates and no increase in transmission rates, effective October 1, 2017. While this increase is fairly substantial, it is a significant improvement from the projected 9 percent increase BPA initially proposed last year.

The increase in wholesale rates stems from higher costs to operate and maintain the aging hydro system, higher long-term fish and wildlife
costs, upgrades to an aging transmission system and reduced revenues from surplus power sales due to lower market prices for energy.

While the final record of decision on rates will not be released until late July, it is anticipated they will not differ much from the draft announcement. Therefore, we are moving forward and evaluating our future rate design based on these figures.

Wasco Electric management is conducting a revenue requirements and cost-ofservice study to help determine what our rates will need to be to cover the additional cost of power as well as the balance between covering our fixed costs through the energy charge versus the basic charge.

This fall, we will announce the final rate impact to the membership and when the increase will take place, likely as early as October 1.

I assure you that through this process, your board of directors and staff are committed to doing all we can to reduce the impact of rates to our members, yet still provide reliable service today and into the future.

As always, if you have any questions about your cooperative, please feel free to call or stop by the office.

Manager's Message

You Can Make a Difference

Shape your future by exercising your rights and speaking up!

Wasco Electric Cooperative belongs to a statewide association called the Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

ORECA’s role, on behalf of the Oregon cooperatives, is to lobby against mandates and laws that jeopardize things such as local control and affordable, economical and reliable power. They can’t, however, do this alone.

Cooperatives such as Wasco Electric encourage their members to band together to promote commonsense solutions by way of our grassroots program, ORECA-Action. By signing up, you will maximize your voice to hold elected officials accountable and promote the importance of Oregon’s electric cooperatives.

Sign up here to become an ORECA-Action advocate and make your voice heard.

Remember, you can make a difference!

Manager's Message

Survey Results

The results are in: Respondents to Wasco Electric Cooperative’s recent member survey are overall pleased with WEC. 94% said they are satisfied to very satisfied overall with the cooperative. Ninety-six percent of respondents agree or strongly agree that the co-op does a good job communicating with its members.

Members were given the opportunity to rank what was most important to them. Eighty-two percent ranked dependable and reliable electric service as No. 1. When asked how the co-op is doing in providing dependable and reliable electric service, 96 percent were satisfied to very satisfied with the job we are doing.

I am pleased to know we are meeting our members’ expectations in providing this. However, maintaining and rebuilding the electric system to achieve this great service comes at a cost.

The co-op invests significant financial resources into the electric system every year.  These investments are included in the rates we charge for electric service. The point I want to make: If we are going to continue with a high level of system reliability and meet members’ expectations, we will need to continue to invest in the electric system. This will impact future power rates.
The series of survey questions that generated the largest disparity in results—and received by far the most member comments—were those we asked about community solar. It is clear from the results, as well as the comments, that we need to provide members with more detailed information before we even consider moving forward with development of such a project.

Members have asked numerous questions. What is a community solar project and how does it work? How does a member participate? How much does it cost to participate? What are the benefits? How long does it take a member to see a return on their investment? All need to be answered in detail. We will provide members with this information soon and then determine if there is enough interest to move forward in developing a small-scale community-based solar project.
As always, if you have any questions regarding any aspect of your cooperative

Manager's Message

Don’t Be Surprised

Call 811 before you dig. Know what’s below.

Before picking up a shovel, pick up the telephone.  Electric, water, sewer, natural gas, telephone and cable television lines often are buried underground.  One wrong move can cause you and your neighbors to be cit off from vital services- or cause death or injury to you, form an electric shock or an explosion.  At least two business days before you plan to dig, call Oregon’s one-call center.  Affected utility companies will come out and use color coded paint to mark the locations of underground utilities.  Calling ahead not only is common sense, it it the law.

Manager's Message

Capital Credits Retirement

In December, Wasco Electric Cooperative retired the remainder of 1985 and all of the 1986 capital margins to members. The total capital credits sent to members who received service in 1985 and 1986 was $367,773.

In addition to these general retirements, the co-op retired $31,273 to the estates of deceased members throughout the year, bringing the total capital credits returned to members in 2016 to $399,046.

Capital credits are unique to cooperatives, such as Wasco Electric. Private power companies make profits and pay dividends to stockholders. But cooperatives work on a nonprofit basis and allocate leftovers from their operating income back to their members.

Capital credits represent your share of the Cooperative’s operating income, which is the operating revenue that remains after operating expenses.

The amount designated in your name each year depends on your energy purchases for the year. To calculate this, we divide your annual energy purchase by the cooperative’s operating income for the year. The more electricity you buy, the more capital credits you earn.

Late next month, each member who received service last year will be mailed a statement of his or her 2016 capital credit allocation. The member’s allocation amount is based on the year-end operating margin.

Capital credits are not necessarily dollars in a bank account. They represent funds that have been invested in the co-op’s utility plant.

Most months, Wasco Electric receives more cash from operations than is necessary to pay for operating expenses. However, the cooperative needs cash for purposes other than paying for operating expenses. Wasco Electric must pay principal and interest on money it has borrowed.

The cooperative also must use cash to pay for capital expenditures. The amount of cash needed for capital expenditures is largely determined by the growth of the utility and the replacement schedule of its aging system.

The distribution of capital credits and its effect on the financial well-being of the cooperative is an issue your board of directors deals with each year. It is the policy of the cooperative and the discretion of the board to return capital credits as long as the cooperative is financially fit to return them without borrowing more or raising rates to pay capital credits.

If you have any questions regarding your capital credit retirement, please contact the office at 541-296-2740.