Basin Electric approves rate decrease

Verendrye to benefit from cost savings

BISMARCK – During a time when prices are increasing for goods and services across the country, wholesale electricity provider Basin Electric is offering rate relief for its members, including Verendrye Electric Cooperative and other rural cooperatives in North Dakota.  

On Aug. 10, Basin Electric’s board of directors unanimously voted to decrease member rates by an average of one mill per megawatt hour. This rate decrease amounts to approximately $33.5 million in 2023 alone.  

“One of the unique benefits of the cooperative is that when a co-op does well financially, its members do, too,” said Basin Electric CEO and General Manager Todd Telesz. “The margins generated at the cooperative benefit every single member at the end of the line.”

 The board’s action to reduce rates comes just weeks after approving two other financial resolutions to return millions to its members. At its July meeting, directors authorized a $15 million bill credit on members’ July power bills as well as the retirement of $13.2 million in patronage capital credits. The bill credit was issued due to midyear consolidated financial results being better than budgeted. The patronage capital credits represent margins from 2005. These two actions will bring the amount returned to members since the year 2000 to over $630 million via retiring patronage capital credits and bill credits.

“All three of these board actions are a result of Basin Electric’s strong year-to-date financial performance, long-term focus, financial stability, and desire to return value to the membership,” said Board President Wayne Peltier. “They are a tangible representation of our commitment to our members past, present, and future. A perfect example of the value of being part of a cooperative family.”

Patronage capital credits represent value returned to the membership from their investment in the cooperative in previous years. A bill credit reflects a rate reduction on current year’s sales. The rate reduction is a relief for future member rate payers.

While the rate decrease will take effect Jan. 1, 2023, the patronage capital credits were distributed in late July and the bill credit will appear on the bill members receive this month.

The rate reduction and bill credit will result in a savings for Verendrye Electric, said Tom Rafferty, member services and communications manager for the cooperative.

“This is great news,” he said. “It will help us offset some inflation. Unfortunately it’s not a large enough decrease where the consumers are going to see it on their bills, but it’s going to help us offset our costs. Our sales have been flat for six years, basically, so we are seeing very little growth, coupled with inflation.”

Rafferty said costs for certain materials have risen significantly, nearly doubling in some cases. However, with the reduction and credit from Basin Electric, the cooperative has no plans to raise electric rates for members in the next year, he said.


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