Community Electric proposes hike

Published 9:16 am Wednesday, June 20, 2012

WINDSOR—Community Electric Cooperative on Tuesday filed for its first general rate increase in 21 years.

The Windsor-based utility asked the Virginia State Corporation Commission to grant a 6 percent increase.

The average monthly residential electric bill of $115 would jump to about $121 for the 10,800 customers in Isle of Wight, Southampton, Sussex and Surry counties and Suffolk.

If approved, the new rate could be applied for usage that dates back to early July, said Cooperative President James Reynolds. The increase would be reflected on bills that go out after Aug. 24.

The increase is needed to cover fuel-related wholesale power costs and should generate $1.2 million.

“Even after taking into account the proposed increase in retail rates, the cost of electric service from the cooperative will compare quite favorably with other energy sources,” Reynolds said.

For example, the average gallon of gasoline 21 years ago cost 81 cents.

Today, one can expect to pay $3.25 per gallon, Reynolds said. Propane, which is frequently used for home heating, has experienced similar increases.

“Electric service from Community Electric Cooperative will remain one of the lowest cost among the Virginia electric cooperatives and a bargain for its members/consumers,” he said.

Community Electric hopes to hear something from the Commission by the end of July, Reynolds said. A public hearing will be scheduled at the Commission’s office in Richmond on the proposed increase.

The utility in April passed on a 2 percent decrease to customers due to a reduction in wholesale costs.