Are RPU customers being penalized for using less electricity?
The Nov. 13 Post-Bulletin had a front page story: "RPU board suggests rate hike."
First, RPU should be commended for holding rates steady for the past five years. In the story, RPU presented a number of reasons for the proposed rate increase — a rate increase from the Southern MN Municipal Power Agency, rising operational costs, CAPX 2020 power line project and the decommissioning of the Silver Lake power plant. These reasons make sense.
However, RPU also suggested the impact of energy efficiency programs was also a factor that's causing a rate increase.
RPU has been proactive in encouraging energy-efficiency programs with things such as rebates for energy-efficient appliances, energy-efficient light bulbs and control devices on air-conditioning units to name a few. RPU also has spent time and resources to encourage all customers to conserve and reduce electricity and water use.
It would seem to me that as customers of RPU, we should have a more complete explanation of why conservation efforts are a partial cause for the need for a rate increase. Why should customers heed conservation efforts if they lead to higher rates?