Over the last week, we have been largely focused on restoring power from a historic winter storm while managing never-before-seen levels of load reduction on Texas electric grid. Now, as the storm recedes, the tremendous toll of the combined events is becoming clear in reporting from across the state. Along with human suffering in miserable and dangerous cold, there is a looming threat from extremely high wholesale energy rates that could be forced on energy consumers.
We have heard from many Trinity Valley Electric Cooperative members wondering how this will impact electricity rates on upcoming power bills, and for good reason. Power costs make up almost 70% of the co-op’s annual costs, so it will be important to carefully consider all possibilities in absorbing the impact and doing the best we can for members who have already suffered through such a difficult experience.
TVEC energy costs have been relatively low for more than a year, and that savings has been passed on to members through the Power Cost Recovery Factor on bills. That has resulted in half-cent ($.005) to one-and-a-half-cent ($.015) per kWh credit to members during 20 of the last 24 months.
We plan to continue this trend. On our March bills, we will be issuing a two–cent ($.02) PCRF credit. This is the largest PCRF credit we have issued since June of 2013. We hope this gives some relief for the high bills that will result from the elevated energy usage during this unprecedented cold weather event.
As we work our way through the investigations and fallout that are sure to come from this week, we will continue to work with our power supplier and our fellow Texas electric cooperatives in protecting the rights of electric consumers. And going forward, we will also continue to advocate for meaningful reforms to ensure that a weather event of this magnitude does not put members at risk for both physical and financial harm.