Average customer would pay an extra $24 more a month
Delaware Electric Cooperative is proposing a rate increase for its members, citing soaring natural gas prices, inflation, and other issues.
“The challenges our Co-op is now facing are unprecedented,” the Greenwood-based organization stated in a post on its web page.
“Earlier this year, we were forced to implement a rate increase after the price of natural gas used to generate power increased by 60 percent in 2021. Since January 1, the price of natural gas has increased by an additional 160 percent,” the post noted.
The DEC board is considering raising the power cost adjustment, adding 18 percent, or about $24 per month, to the average member’s bill, with the increase taking effect on Sept. 1.
The board will vote on the proposal during a public hearing on Aug. 18 at 5 p.m. in the Dover Building at the Delaware State Fairgrounds in Harrington. Members will also be able to watch the meeting via Zoom.
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The cooperative stated that it is not alone in raising rates and cited previous reductions that took place in 2020 and 2021. The cooperative also returns profits to members.
The cooperative stated that it will delay several major capital projects that do not have an immediate effect on reliability.
Also cited were investments in locally-based solar energy that has not seen the spike in costs.
Delaware Electric Cooperative serves a large area of Kent and Sussex County that is not a part of the Delmarva Power or municipal electric systems’ territories.
Some areas within DEC’s territory have seen rapid population growth as retirees and empty nesters are attracted to a more rural lifestyle, low property taxes and no sales tax.
DEC is a member of a wholesale cooperative operating power plants that include the Wildcat Point natural gas-fueled site west of Newark in western Cecil County, MD.