Howell-Oregon Electric Coop, Inc. announces a rate increase.
In a press release dated May 13, Manager of Member Services Myles Smith, Howell-Oregon Electric Cooperative of West Plains, announced a rate increase to go into effect on cooperative members July 2009 electric bill.
In April 2008 and again in April of 2009, the cooperative received rate increases from its supplier, Associated Electric Cooperative and had been able to delay passing any increases to members until this now.
"The main factors contributing to the rise in member rates are an increased cost of fuels to power generation plants, the need to comply with environmental regulations and a demand for additional electrical generation capacity," Smith said.
After the independent consulting firm of Toth and Associates performed a rate study, it was determined a rate increase of approximately $12 for the average Howell-Oregon member customer would be necessary to keep pace with the spiraling operating expense and to maintain the level of service and reliability customers have grown to expect and currently receive.
In a presentation to local radio and print media, Howell-Oregon Electric's CEO Dan Singletary said, "One of the Coops main concerns is to be able to maintain financial affordability for our member customers."
In a study released by Electric Information Administration and the Arkansas Public Service Commission, Howell-Oregon's cents per kilowatt hour average is at the bottom of the scale and about four cents below the national average.
Singletary expressed major concerns about upcoming government legislation, called Cap and Trade. Changes in the current emissions policy would force some electric providers over their "Cap" and force them to "Trade" on the exchange for higher priced emissions credits. This could raise some consumers' rates out of the financially affordable range.
Singletary said, "We are very concerned about carbon emissions, and are working with other Coops and our energy provider Associated Electric in every way we can to help reduce emissions."
Research is ongoing to better use and make alternative fuels a more economical and viable source to generate electrical energy.
Pilot programs are underway now to pump carbon emissions underground. Huge cavities already exist deep within the earth which will work as massive storage compartments under the earth's crust.
Other filtering efforts and emission scrubber efforts are at work and are continually being researched and developed.
A small research project at the University of Missouri is working with a form of algae. The base of this research project, uses algae as a filter for carbon emissions. The algae is then processed into a usable liquid which can be burned as fuel.
"Solar energy, bio-fuels, nuclear energy, wind power and other alternative fuels are continuing to be researched and developed. We will need them all as environmental restrictions grow and demand for energy continues increasing," Singletary said.
At present, Associated Electric, who supplies Howell-Oregon, is using three wind farms in northern Missouri. They have a fourth wind farm going on-line soon, which can power around 45,000 homes.
Howell-Oregon Member Services Representative John Thomasson presented an overview of the Take Control & Save, energy-efficiency program. Thomasson said, "This program has a variety of things consumers can do in an effort to reduce cost and be more energy efficient. From lighting, purchasing Energy Star rated appliances and one of the most important issues, education."