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Letter: A $532 difference in electrical rates

To the editor:

Those provided electricity by Runestone Electric Association (REA) may have noticed a jump in your electric bill. REA recently pulled out the stops on curbing utility rate increases and raised your bill by a minimum of $8. As of the most recent newsletter, REA has 13,828 “members,” which makes this latest price hike a very profitable one.

I live at 808 Garden Dr SW in Alexandria, just outside the city limits. Folks to the east and west of my neighbors and me enjoy electricity from ALP.

For some reason, those who live on Garden Dr, Garden Ln, Galen St, and Janes Circle pay $25 for a fixed charge while ALP customers pay $9.40. We also overpay on utility rates (summer rates of 12.4 cents per kWh for REA vs. 8.9 cents per kWh for ALP).

ALP can buy out the territory that REA is currently squatting on, however REA refuses to let us go. Rick Banke, CEO of REA, states, “To be direct, REA is not interested in releasing members to ALP. I understand the difference in rates and appreciate your desire to take advantage of that differential, especially living so close to ALP’s lines. As you know, REA recently raised rates so the difference between the two utilities is most significant now. We are hopeful we will see little to no additional increase for 2-3 years.”

My utility bills for 2012 show that if my household was serviced by ALP, we would have saved $331.57 over REA. Using the same numbers from 2012 and the 2013 rates, we will pay $532.32 more. Let that sink in: $532.32. That is a lot of money.

Our neighborhoods are simply requesting that REA does the right thing. Please let us go. Times are tough and that’s a lot of money to be unnecessarily spending.

Blake Paulson

Alexandria, MN