Co-op needs to serve members | Letter

OPALCO recently instituted new fixed rate power usage increases, some of which have already become effective. These rate structure increases have resulted in many letters lamenting the present and future impacts to San Juan islanders.

Something I have yet to hear discussed is a situation my wife and I became involved it when we built our house on Lopez years ago. It was suggested that we have an account dedicated to our well only.

The reason being that we would be able, if necessary, to fight a house fire should our house electrical system become inoperable, a common occurrence during fires.

And this was an idea pushed by OPALCO at the time. In 2005 the basic rate for this account was $12 per month. Only 10 years later it has risen to $37 per month (a whopping 208 percent increase!). Needless to say very little electricity is used because this separate system supplies well water only for our house needs. (We rely solely on collected rain water for our gardens).   Furthermore I believe the basic rate is projected to rise to $78 per month by 2019, a 111 percent increase over the present rate!

With the above situation in mind, and so many folks affected, I suggest a reevaluation is in order of the present and future rate structures. In particular, limited use, and safety electrical uses, like mentioned above, should not be lumped into a “one size fits all” answer to OPALCO’s operating/debt management problems.  We welcome a discussion and some creative thinking about this increasingly costly rate structure, and OPALCO’s budget considerations.

After all, the goal of OUR cooperative should be to serve its members, not drive them off the grid that will only exacerbate the situation for all concerned. Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

Ian and Jo-Ann Lange