Sunday, February 27, 2011

Washington Electric 23.8% Rate Increase by Charlie Bucknam

At the end of last year, Washington Electric Coop announced a rate increase of 23.8%.  This extraordinarily large increase went into effect on January 1 of this year and is already burdening households and businesses.  From the letter ratepayers received in December, the primary reason for the increase relates to WEC's investment in "renewable" energy at its Coventry landfill plant.  One of the promised sources of revenue when the plant was constructed was the proceeds of sale of Renewable Energy Certificates (REC's).  REC's may be issued for each MW of renewable electricity produced.  They are then sold on the open market to organizations and individuals who want to demonstrate their commitment to green energy.  WEC's management and board of trustees were convinced that there was a market for REC's.  Whatever national market there may have been has dried up as people opt for low cost electricity (whatever its source) in order to survive in this recession.  WEC now needs to make up for the shortfall in revenue and its rate-payers will pay the price.  The Public Service Board has opened an investigation to look into WEC's rate increase.  There is a public hearing scheduled for March 15 at 7:00 p.m. at the Old Brick Church in East Montpelier.    Washington Electric chose not to buy any power from Vermont Yankee, Vermont's cheapest form of reliable energy, and instead chose to invest in a landfill.  Now the ratepayers are paying the piper.  Washington Electric ratepayers should be asking the Board whether it fulfilled its fiduciary duty to its coop members (the ratepayers) by making such a risky investment.    

No comments:

Post a Comment