Submitted by Orcas Power and Light Cooperative.
The 2023 OPALCO annual budget was approved at the Nov.17 board meeting including a 6% rate increase for all members, funding for the construction of the Bailer Hill Community Solar Project and energy efficiency incentives. The budget forecasts a 6% rate increases for each of the next five years to keep up with inflation, the rising costs of power and labor, and to manage the Co-op’s equity position. The Co-op uses equity to borrow federal funds for major capital projects, like the submarine cable replacements that are scheduled in the next 10-20 years.
OPALCO continues to leverage grant funds and the Bonneville Power Administration rebate program to encourage members to make their homes and businesses more energy efficient and help reduce their total energy spending. OPALCO’s on-bill financing program, Switch It Up, lets members start efficiency projects now and pay for them later. Members in good standing can get projects such as weatherization, solar & battery projects or upgrades to heating systems installed with no money down and 2% interest. There are also residential and commercial rebates available to put money back in your pocket!
OPALCO’s second community solar project, Bailer Hill Microgrid, is scheduled to begin construction in 2023; members will be able to purchase a piece of the project as soon as next Spring. Community Solar is a locally produced power that members can buy into and get credits on their bill for the energy produced. These projects are funded through grants and by the members who buy into the project. This project will also include battery storage like our Decatur Island Microgrid.
The budget also includes increased support for energy assistance to households who struggle to pay their power bill. There are two programs that members can apply to for bill assistance: Project Pal, which is a grant once each year during the heating season; and Energy Assist, which provides a bill credit every month based on household size. Apply for energy assistance online or through your local family resource center.
For the full 2023 budget report, visit the Document Library on OPALCO’s website at www.opalco.com.
Orcas Power & Light Cooperative is our member-owned cooperative electric utility, serving more than 11,000 members on 20 islands in San Juan County. OPALCO provides electricity that is 95% greenhouse-gas free and is generated predominantly by hydroelectric plants. OPALCO was founded in 1937. Follow OPALCO @OrcasPower on Facebook and Twitter.