Thursday, January 21, 2010

United Power Announces No Rate Increase for 2010

Brighton, Colo.—United Power has announced that there will be no rate increase in 2010. The board of directors and staff of United Power worked together to develop a budget that would hold the line on rates for the coming year. The key in maintaining the current rates was Tri-State Generation and Transmission’s decision to keep the rates they charge United Power for wholesale power stable in 2010.

 “The past few years we have had increases passed on to our members because of increases in the cost of whole sale power from our power supplier, Tri-State Generation and Transmission,” stated Robert Broderick, CEO of United Power. “Since wholesale power costs account for more than 70% of our total costs, it’s difficult to completely absorb these costs without affecting service levels. In the past few years, we have been working hard to manage the costs we can contain in our operation, and 2010 will be no exception.”

The board and staff worked hard to develop a 2010 budget that reflected the cooperative’s understanding of the tight economic climate our members are enduring. After wholesale power rates are removed from the rate base, the remaining dollars are collected to operate the distribution system and include the costs for building and maintaining the local system of lines and substations, operations including employees and vehicles, costs for billing and communication, property taxes, depreciation and interest. Employees were asked to take a hard look at all the costs in their areas, and trim any unnecessary costs. In addition to a hiring freeze, new programs were carefully scrutinized to determine their affect on the bottom line and their return on investment.
“This year’s budget should allow us to provide quality service, and continue the necessary system maintenance we need to insure the integrity of our power delivery system,” stated Broderick. “Our employees and board worked hard to look at every program, every employee, every piece of equipment to determine if it was necessary to insure top-notch service.”

While rates continue to climb for electricity nationwide, United Power customers enjoy unique benefits as cooperative members. First is the capital credit payments they receive as part of their membership. Last year United Power members shared more than $3 million in capital credit payments – representing their investment into the operations of the cooperative. Additionally United Power members are able to have a voice in the cooperatives operation by running for the board or voting on board representatives each year at the cooperative’s annual meeting.

“As board members we are each charged with listening to the members we represent, and we know that many of our members are struggling in the current economy,” stated Dave Dunnell, United Power’s board President. “We challenged United Power’s staff to develop a budget that would continue to provide the quality service our customers demand without incorporating a rate increase, and we are pleased with the results.”

United Power, a Touchstone Energy® cooperative, provides electricity to more than 66,000 customers on Colorado’s northern front range.

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