Colder temperatures in 2017 brought in greater revenue than projected and, as a result, all OPALCO co-op members who paid a bill for any part of 2017 will receive a credit on their last bill in December. The average credit for residential members (based on typical energy usage) will be about $50.
Back in 2015 when warmer temperatures caused a reduction in co-op revenues, the Board put Policy 29: Rate Design into effect with an Energy Charge Adjustment. The Energy Charge Adjustment provides a variable mechanism to balance fluctuations in energy revenues, positive or negative. This year, members will get money back.
Surplus revenue, such as occurred in 2017, provides little benefit the Co-op budget for the next year and creates a larger capital credit obligation on the backs of members in 25 years. The board would rather put the dollars in members’ hands now instead of waiting 25 years.
The 2017 margin was trending toward about $4M as the third quarter came to a close. Estimating weather (temperatures) and year-end expense, the board decided to adjust the year-end revenue to return a portion to the membership, increase capital credit distributions to include ~45% of next year’s obligation, and create a Board Restricted Fund of ~$500K to cover unforeseen emergencies or opportunities.
If you have questions or comments, join OPALCO for a live streaming event on Facebook (@OrcasPower) scheduled for 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 12. Staff will be discussing the bill credit and answering questions.