Vermont Business Magazine Vermont Electric Cooperative (VEC) will not seek a rate increase for January 2018, marking the fourth consecutive year that VEC has kept rates flat. Earlier in the year, VEC anticipated that a rate increase would be necessary, but VEC staff worked hard to identify savings in power supply and transmission as well as in other areas.
“Going into 2018 without a rate increase is a tremendous accomplishment,” said VEC Chief Executive Officer Christine Hallquist. “I couldn’t be prouder of our employees who found savings that will allow us to keep rates steady.”
Over the past nine years, VEC’s rates have increased an average of just 0.77 percent each year, well under the annual rate of inflation.
Joe Russo, chief operating officer of maple producer Sweet Tree, LLC in Island Pond, was happy to receive the news. “As a business owner, I operate in a very competitive environment and any expense that doesn’t increase is money I can invest directly into our business, our employees, and our future,” said Russo. “VEC deserves kudos.”
“VEC has worked hard – with success – to find savings in order to avoid a rate increase,” said June Tierney, Commissioner, Vermont Department of Public Service. “I commend VEC for this good work. Their members have good cause to be proud of VEC’s success in promoting affordability in it’s service territory.”
VEC’s Hallquist cautioned that cost pressures likely will not abate in the coming years. For example, Vermont’s net metering program, which requires utilities to compensate producers at rates above retail prices, heavy storm activities, transmission costs, and the replacement of natural gas contracts with higher cost renewable contracts, all add to increasing costs.
“Despite these pressures, we will continue to make every effort to keep rates stable every year,” Hallquist said.
Source: Johnson, VT - Vermont Electric Cooperative