OPALCO’s new rates are unfair | Letter

The worst thing about OPALCO’s new “rate structure” is how grossly unfair it is.

For example: With the higher “facility charge” added to the kilowatt-hour charge a typical small user of 400 kilowatt-hour per month would pay $34 for power plus the $38.90 facility charge, a total of $72.90 divided by 400 equals 18.2 cents per kilowatt-hour.

A heavy user of 1,500 kilowatt-hour would pay a total of $166.40, divided by 1,500 equals only 11 cents per kilowatt-hour. (The actual cost to OPALCO of delivering this power is less than 12 cents per kilowatt-hour.)

In effect, OPALCO is punishing the poor, the thrifty, part-time residents and those trying to “do their part” by saving energy.

At the same time they’re subsidizing the heavy users, (dare I say “the wealthy”).

OPALCO has always done this to some extent, but now they’re making it much worse.

There are lots of ways to arrange prices to be fair to all users.

Remember, OPALCO is a cooperative – “nonprofit, member-owned, democratically controlled, etc., etc..” None of this is true now, if it ever was.

Cooperatives began 200 years ago as a way to protect common folk from the exactions of greedy merchants and corporations, but OPALCO is running just like any ordinary corporation, always seeking more sources of wealth to appropriate, usually from those with the least to spare.

They didn’t hesitate to violate State law (RCW 24.06) or their own bylaws (Article VIII Sect. 3) when they decided, on a whim, to get into the Internet supply business and to lay all the cost on the members without getting the required permission.

An electrical cooperative would be a great thing to have in San Juan County. We should see what we can do to turn OPALCO into a real one.

Steve Ludwig

Lopez Island