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Tri-County EMC members may notice a change in their monthly bill in October. Most of this increase is due to our investment in generation from Plant Vogtle. 

Beginning with bills rendered on or after October 1, Tri-County EMC will increase the rate per kWh charged to our members. This increase is due to the impact of Vogtle Units 3 and 4 coming online and rising operating costs.

The impact of the rate increase will vary based on your usage patterns. The average residential member, who uses about 1,000 kWhs per month, will see a monthly bill increase of about $5. Members with higher usage will see a slightly higher increase.

Tri-County has made great strides in recent years to diversify the cooperative’s fuel mix to incorporate more clean power while also planning for stable future energy needs as our membership and energy demand grows. In 2005, coal generation made up 54 percent of the cooperative’s energy mix. Coal now provides less than 10 percent of our members’ electric needs. In its place, we have added natural gas and carbon-free resources including solar, and now new nuclear.

 “We are continually trying to balance low costs with reliability. Utility scale solar generation is very inexpensive, but we still need reliable resources that we can count on 24 hours per day,” said Ray Grinberg, chief executive officer of Tri-County. 

“Plant Vogtle gives us that reliability for the next eighty years,” said Grinberg. Tri-County will blend those costs into the cooperative’s fuel mix, making a rate increase necessary.

Increases in costs in areas beyond power generation are also affecting the cooperative. “Like many industries across the U.S. today, Tri-County EMC is also experiencing the escalating cost of materials and supplies we use to build, operate and maintain our electric system,” said Ray Grinberg, CEO. 

“Raising rates is not something any company or any board of directors likes to do,” said Brenda P. Green, chairman of Tri-County EMC’s Board of Directors. “Tri-County has done a great job of managing costs over the years. We’ve found ways, through efficiencies, to absorb many of those cost increases. A rate increase has now become a necessity for the cooperative in order to maintain the current level of reliability and service.” While increases in the minimum bill occurred between 2018 and 2020, there has not been an increase in the per-kWh charges since 2014. 

Tri-County EMC continually looks for ways to operate more efficiently and keep expenses down. The co-op has been able to avoid increases for more than seven years by using technology to improve reliability, operations and efficiency and combining positions rather than creating news ones. In the cooperative business model, rates are not set to make a profit. In fact, when profits are made they are returned to members in the form of capital credits. The focus with this rate change is to keep the business financially strong on behalf of all members and continue to provide safe, reliable energy for years to come. (78221001)

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