Answering your questions: Co-ops and PUDs    

Tags: Answering Questions, Avista Utilities, Electricity, Rates

In the last two weeks we sent out an e-mail to customers about what it means to be a regulated utility and I’ve been able to respond to dozens and dozens of e-mails from customers based off of that e-mail. One question popped up a few times - it was about our electric rates compared to PUDs and Co-ops.

Here’s what Julie, and Avista customer asked: “I was wondering why the cost of both energy, and delivering it are higher than others like say Modern Electric.”

That’s a good and fair question. Some PUDs and Co-ops (and Modern) have access to very low-cost power from the Bonneville Power Administration. So their rates are sometimes, but not always lower. The cost of delivering it – such as a monthly charge - also varies per company.
 
The problem is that BPA has a limited amount of low-cost power. As customer loads continue to grow, BPA and the public utilities will need to acquire new resources at higher prices than the utility industry is experiencing today. Modern also serves significantly fewer customers than Avista, 10,000, compared to our 355,000 electric customers. We have to build or buy diversified resources to meet that demand and renewable energy requirements, while many Co-ops or PUDs don’t even generate their own power.

The history of how electric utilities sprung up around the country is actually pretty interesting and part of the reason Co-ops and PUDs were originally formed in many rural areas. Last year we created a website to talk about our company’s history from the early days (like 1889) to today. There is an interactive timeline that walks you through major events in our history. Check it out at: http://www.avistalegacy.com/
 
We’re still the same company, but we’ve been through a lot of changes.
 
 
Posted by  System Account  on  11/5/2009
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