DOBSON — Usually, announcements by utility providers regarding rates involve higher charges, but one this week by Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Corp. includes a decrease.
Members of the co-op based in Dobson will soon notice a difference in their monthly power bills, since lower fuel prices have resulted in a temporary reduction in the cooperative’s wholesale power bills.
“We have a surplus in revenues from wholesale power costs for customers,” Surry-Yadkin spokesman Adam Martin explained Thursday.
Surry-Yadkin EMC is a private, not-for-profit electric cooperative that provides service at cost. While investor-owned utilities return a portion of any profits back to those investors, electric cooperatives return excess revenue to their members as financial conditions permit. This distinction will be evidenced by savings cooperative members will see over the next several months, according to co-op officials.
Those savings will be shared through the temporary rate reduction that will appear as a Wholesale Power Cost Adjustment (WPCA) on bills beginning this month, they say.
This development was announced last Saturday at the electric cooperative’s 75th-annual meeting by Greg Puckett, executive vice president and general manager of Surry-Yadkin EMC.
The cooperative provides electricity to 27,000 members in Surry, Yadkin, Stokes, Wilkes and Forsyth counties.
“About 50 percent of our members are in Surry County,” Martin said.
“The average member who uses 1,200 kilowatt hours will save about $6 per month, while the membership as a whole will experience total savings of approximately $2 million,” Puckett stated in a speech during a business session of the annual meeting.
In discussing the possible length of the “temporary” rate reduction Thursday, Martin said it is still to be determined.
“Ultimately, we’re not sure of the complete timeline — we know it will be several months,” he said.
“It depends on the members’ kilowatt hour usage,” Martin said regarding the period needed to offset the surplus. “It could be four months, it could be six months — it just depends on their usage.”
The Surry-Yadkin spokesman thinks the rate cut will be in effect “through the end of the year at least.”
Martin said the cooperative has strived to sustain its rates over the past several years, and whenever hikes have occurred these have been geared toward small increases phased in slowly and gradually.
He added that Surry-Yadkin offers various rate options, energy-management solutions and efficiency tips to help customers save money on bills, which can be found on its website.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.