Kootenai Electric Cooperative members will pay almost 12 percent more for power starting next month, unless they can persuade the utility’s directors to modify their plans at a Sept. 29 hearing.
A pending 7.5 percent rate increase by the Bonneville Power Administration, which supplies all of Kootenai’s energy, and the cost of new substations and other system improvements made the increase necessary, spokesman Larry Bryant said.
The rate change has two components for residential customers: a boost in the monthly service charge, from $10 to $16.50, and higher charges for the electricity itself.
Instead of 6.2 cents for all kilowatt-hours, customers will pay 6.4 cents for up to 2,500 kWh, and 7.3 cents for anything above that threshold. Less than 10 percent of Kootenai’s 20,000 residential members use more than 2,500 kWh, Bryant said, and only during the winter heating months.
“We really wanted to send a conservation signal,” he said.
The proposal would lift the average residential bill $8.50 per month.
Kootenai last raised rates in 2006, when a very favorable contract with Bonneville expired, lifting rates above 1993 levels for the first time in 13 years.
Kootenai Electric has about 20,000 residential customers, mostly in Kootenai County.
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