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VEA rate increase to go into effect July 1

Valley Electric Association, Inc. began their yearly district meetings Tuesday night at the Pahrump Nugget Hotel and Casino and among the points that were going to be touched on, one stands out above the rest.

For the first time in six years VEA is planning a rate hike, that has been accelerated from its original Jan. 17, 2017 date and is now scheduled to go into effect July 1.

VEA Chief Executive Officer Tom Husted said that the rate hike would be a single-digit rate, not to exceed 9.99 percent, spread out over rate classes.

“At some point in time you have to pay the fiddler,” said Husted, referring to the co-op’s continued capital investment without any ratepayer increases during the economic downturn. These included completion of a transmission line, expansion to the VEA headquarters on Highway 372 and the establishing of the infrastructure to introduce wireless and broadband services to the community.

Husted explained that the rate increase amount is still being determined by a third-party company that will survey figures to come up with an adequate rate adjustment.

The rate hike’s planned roll-out date was bumped up do to VEA’s associated broadband project costs and which is set to roll out next month.

Although a full build-out of the fiber-optic system won’t come until later this year, VEA is set to offer wireless Internet to residents, via setting up 12 hot spots that cover the majority of town and utilizing flat antennas for $49.95 per month.

Once the fiber-optic build-out is complete, those with the wireless service just have to plug into the broadband service and for the same $49.95 price will get the basic speed of 50 mbps.

The new broadband service will be a cash cow for VEA and it is expected to pull in a healthy revenue almost immediately, according to Husted.

“It will generate millions of dollars in revenue in a short amount of time,” he said.

The second of six VEA district meetings takes place today in District 6 (Pahrump, north of Highway 372) at Nevada Treasure RV Resort, located at 301 W. Leslie St. Registration opens at 5 p.m., the meeting begins at 6 p.m.

Thursday District 3 (Beatty, Sarcobatus Flat and Scotty’s Junction) will host it’s meeting at the Beatty Community Center at 100 A Ave. South. Registration opens at 5 p.m., meeting begins at 6 p.m.

Pick up Friday’s Pahrump Valley Times for more coverage of Tuesday’s meeting.

Contact reporter Mick Akers at makers@pvtimes.com. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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