Letter – Who's to blame for electricity costs?On Saturday, March 28, Runestone Electric Association (REA) held its annual meeting of members.
To the editor:
On Saturday, March 28, Runestone Electric Association (REA) held its annual meeting of members.
The REA board and management must take much of the blame for the increasing cost of electricity to members. Despite the increasing cost of wholesale electricity, the share of REA income paid to power suppliers has decreased from 71.7 percent in 1983 to 56.3 percent the past year.
Who should take much of the blame? When the 23 percent one-year increase in director fees and expenses was brought up, the REA president tried to justify it because there was a new director and changes in board policies, which the board can change whenever they want.
A few years ago, REA changed the system for paying capital credits to members At that time, REA had tried to have a 20-year late payback plan. This year, they are 23 years behind and unless the system is changed, will continue to fall further behind and members who leave the system will wait longer for total payment, if they ever get it.
REA’s president printed an example that tried to make wind power generation look bad. He wrote that wind generation would cost about 6 to 7 cents per kwh and coal generation would cost 2.5 cents per kwh. The coal costs may be about right for a 30-year-old plant, but at the proposed Big Stone II plant, generation would cost 6 to 8 cents per kwh and new nuclear plants are projected to come in at around 17 cents per kwh. With these costs in mind, energy conservation seems to be the wisest path to be followed.
Another year has passed without much positive change at REA and nothing much positive will change unless more members get actively involved and challenge our board and management on important issues.