VEA board to discuss study that recommends rate increase

A recommendation to raise its electrical rates will be considered by the Valley Electric Association, Inc.’s board of directors on Thursday, the cooperative announced.

An independent third-party cost-of-service study by the firm Black and Veatch recommended that VEA raise rates 9.9 percent, effective July 1. The board must approve the rate increase, and the amount.

“The board will carefully review its options before making a decision on a rate adjustment,” said Tom Husted, VEA chief executive officer. “We’re all very proud that VEA has managed to improve service reliability while holding the line on rates for six consecutive years. Keeping rates affordable is a key part of our mission.”

The co-op has not increased rates in more than six years. Jan. 1, 2010 was the date of the last rate increase, which was 6.03 percent.

If an increase is approved by the board of directors for July 1, it would be ahead of the originally planned rate hike. Initially, Jan. 17, 2017 was planned for a possible increase but the acceleration of the hike was decided upon by VEA, before the cost-of-service study was carried out.

Despite inflation and the cost of living rising over the past six years, VEA didn’t raise its rates and it is something they are proud of.

“Since January 2010, member-owner rates have not increased, even in the face of significant increases in total operating expense during the worst recession in the history of our state and our nation,” Husted said. “At Valley Electric, we wake up every morning with a goal of providing you reliable and affordable electricity, and now that will include high-speed communications.

“We will continue to do everything we can to hold down our costs so that you pay as little as possible for your power and broadband.”

Husted explained that future plans include measures to try and keep further rate increases from occurring anytime soon.

“The company’s strategy of diversifying its revenue base should serve to keep downward pressure on rates going forward just as it has since 2010,” Husted said.

Valley Electric has scheduled a series of informal open-house meetings in each of the utility’s six districts to explain the basis for the rate increase and answer any questions. The time, date and location of each meeting are as follows:

10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday, June 20, District 2 (Amargosa Valley) Community Center

10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday, June 21, Districts 1 and 6 (Pahrump) Valley Electric

10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday, June 22, Districts 1 and 6 (Pahrump) Valley Electric

10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, June 24, District 4 (Fish Lake Valley) Community Center

10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday, June 27, District 3 (Beatty) Community Center

10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday, June 28, District 5 (Sandy Valley) Senior Center

Contact reporter Mick Akers at Follow @mickakers on Twitter.