The Lane-Scott Electric Cooperative, Inc. Board of Trustees convened on Monday, March 1, 2021, to decide how best to mitigate the cost impacts from the energy crisis and high fuel cost impacts in February. Our wholesale power provider has to recover their fluctuating cost of fuel - whether natural gas, wind, solar, coal, hydro or nuclear. This cost is charged to Lane-Scott and we pass it along to our members on your electric bills. The monthly fluctuation is usually small, and for the past 21 of 24 months, Lane-Scott has been able to pass along an ECA (Energy Cost Adjustment) credit to our members. However, the Lane-Scott February energy bill which is typically $600,000-$700,000 skyrocketed to nearly $4 million.
If we were to bill our members in full for the high February fuel cost, bills could be four to five-times their normal monthly average. We know this is not affordable for many people. Instead, Lane-Scott was able to secure low interest financing to pay our wholesale energy supplier while allowing an extended recovery of funds over 42 months. To make the decision equitable and manageable for all members, the board voted to pass the same 42-month payment schedule to all members in the ECA charge.
The new ECA charge will not be reflective on members bills until April, after Lane-Scott receives the final February energy bill in mid-March from Sunflower Electric Power Corporation, our generation and transmission provider. At this time, we are estimating the additional ECA cost to be around $0.006-$0.007 / kwh. For example, an average residential household who would use around 850 kwh during the month of March would see an increase of $5.00-$6.00 per month on their April bill. Again, we will not know the final ECA charge until we receive the Sunflower bill, but this will give you an idea of the possible cost implications. Richard McLeon, the general manager said, “The Lane-Scott board of trustees and employees work for you, our members. We needed to come up with a plan that would work for everyone. While we could not prevent the load sheds, we can make this emergency as manageable as possible.”
The enormity of a crisis is easy to see when a storm causes lines to fall and poles to break. This is an entirely different kind of emergency. It’s hard to understand when there’s no physical damage, but it’s an emergency just the same. “We’ve come together as a cooperative before, recovering from millions of dollars of infrastructure damage from ice storms. Together, we will overcome this emergency, the same as we always have.” ~ Richard Jennison, Lane-Scott Electric Board of Trustees, President.
The past few weeks have not been easy. The energy crisis and financial impacts changed sometimes several times a day. We sincerely thank you for your patience, understanding, and energy conservation during this time. Please call with any questions you may have.