Explanations for higher electric rates in winter

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By The Staff

SHEPHERDSVILLE -- Before the big ice storm, many electrical customers were concerned with their bills in December.

Randy Burba, spokesman for Salt River Electric, said the co-op received many phone calls when bills were up significantly over their November statements.

The increase had nothing to do with any billing hike, said Burba.

Salt River has not had a rate increase approved by the state Public Service Commission since 1993.

However, several factors led to customers seeing a sharp hike.

First, Burba said the November billing cycle had just 25 days. In contrast, the December bills accounted for 35 days, which is a 33 percent increase alone.

Second, November weather was mild while December saw some colder days and nights. Plus, holiday lights and added cooking always increases the usage of electric in December.

Finally, two charges that are out of the control of the local co-op reached some of their highest amounts.

Customers pay a fuel clause adjustment and an EPA charge. Both are approved by the PSC and passed along to the customers.

Burba said the fuel surcharge was the second highest ever. However, that has nothing to do with the cost of fuel. Instead, it is based on prices of coal and natural gas in the production of the electricity.