Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Effective with bills mailed on or after January 31, 2018, Valley Rural Electric Cooperative's basic monthly charge increased by $4 across all consumer classes. The last time the co-op increased this charge was in February 2015.
Answers to some frequent questions about our rates appear below. Click a question to read its answer. Click the Expand All button to access all of the answers at one time.
No. We had been considering a building project in Martinsburg for a while and announced our intentions at previous nominating meetings and annual meeting. We simply outgrew our old building. New construction is more cost-effective than renovating the existing building.
Electric co-ops have a board of directors elected from the membership that establishes rates. Because we are not-for-profit and self-regulating, we have not had to put rate caps in place. Therefore, our consumers are not affected by the rate cap removal. By the way, even with this increase, Valley's rates are still among the lowest in Pennsylvania. Rising costs of doing business and maintaining our electric system have led the board of directors at Valley Rural Electric Cooperative to implement this increase in the basic monthly charge.
The new basic monthly charge is effective on bills mailed on or after January 31, 2018. The general service rate of $0.0995 per kWh remains unchanged and is composed of three parts. The generation/transmission rate for energy sold is $0.0487 per kWh. The generation ownership rate is $0.0193 per kWh. The distribution rate for energy delivered is $0.0315 per kWh.
The basic monthly charge pays for the cost of providing reliable electric service at your location. This includes maintaining distribution lines and substations, clearing rights-of-way, and repairing normal wear and tear on poles and equipment. In addition, the expense of billing consumers and maintaining records, like our capital credits accounts, is divided equally among our membership through the basic monthly charge. This means that, regardless of how many kilowatt-hours are used, each member pays a fair share of the cost of having dependable service ready to use 24 hours a day.
We're always looking for ways to manage costs, which may include volume purchasing, energy efficiency programs, and the implementation of new technologies. (One recent example: We've streamlined our billing process to cut down on paper, postage, and processing time.) We also remain committed to providing reliable service to our members. Doing so requires that system maintenance programs, such as right-of-way clearing and pole inspection, be continued and investments be made to train our employees, replace aging equipment, and rebuild and upgrade our electric distribution system. By the way, did you know that we employ roughly the same number of people as we did 75 years ago? Yet the number of consumers we serve has increased by nearly 20,000 over that same period!
Valley's rates typically fall in the mid-range when compared to most electric cooperatives serving Pennsylvania residents. They are also very competitive when compared to private utilities, although they may not be the lowest due to differences in consumer and revenue density. Valley serves an average of seven consumers per mile of line (providing a little over $10,500 in annual revenue per mile of line), while private power companies average 35 customers per mile (acquiring $62,665 annually).
Valley REC offers a number of ways to help you manage your power bill. Some of those services include automatic payment options, levelized billing, energy audits, and energy efficiency programs. For more information on improving the energy efficiency of your home or business, click on the Together We Save tab and menu. Check out the Programs & Services tab and menu as well. You can also contact our member services department toll-free at 800-432-0680.
Ensuring your future electric needs and protecting our precious natural resources are two things we take very seriously.
- We are proud to be part owners of the William F. Matson Generating Station at Lake Raystown, the first hydroelectric project in Pennsylvania to be certified by the Low Impact Hydropower Institute, a non-profit organization that helps ensure environmentally responsible hydro power production.
- We have supported 60 renewable projects so far. They include 10 windmill projects, 49 solar (photovoltaic) projects, and one methane digester.
- In an effort to promote energy conservation, we offer free energy audits. We also sell the following energy-efficient items.
- Marathon® water heaters
- Smart Strip surge protectors
- LED lightbulbs
- Valley is a member of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), which participates in the Ag Energy Working Group, a coalition of 400 organizations focused on generating 25 percent of our nation’s energy from renewable, homegrown resources by 2025. NRECA also works to develop renewable energy partnerships with the federal government.
We have always specified certain costs in our basic monthly charge. Line density also makes a difference. Where private power companies can spread maintenance costs across an average of 35 consumers per mile of line, co-ops – because of the territory they serve – average just seven members per mile of line. So, comparable maintenance expenses for a mile of line are spread over fewer consumers.