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Higher electric bills?   Again?

If you live in Chaffee County, outside of Salida or Poncha Springs, your electric utility is probably Sangre De Christo Electric Association (SDCEA Co-op).

In January 2022, SDCEA published a surprise rate proposal to raise all residential member’s base rate to be effective January 1, 2022, from $32 to $46. Fortunately, there was a large public outcry, and after several Co-op Board meetings where members spoke up, the rate proposal was withdrawn. (Another reason for the withdrawal may have been the lack of compliance at the time with Colorado Cooperative transparency law HB 21-1131).

Well, this month SDCEA is trying once again, to push out the same punitive base rate change from $32 to $46!  This base rate affects 90 percent of the customers in the SDCEA Co-op.  Once again, this proposal is a surprise to members as it was only unveiled this month, yet the SDCEA Board plans to vote on and adopt it at their March 29 meeting.

Why is it punitive?

  1. It discourages energy conservation.  Many SDCEA members primarily heat their homes with wood, propane, passive or active solar. Many are in fixed or low-income situations, already dealing with rising inflation. They are currently using less electricity and now SDCEA wants them to pay more for less.
  2. At a time of increased concern over climate change, the plan is punitive towards the environment by encouraging large energy users NOT to conserve, offering them slightly lower kWh energy prices.

What can you do to stop or delay this proposed rate change? If you can, plan to attend the virtual board meeting on March 29 by calling SDCEA at 719-395-2412 to register.  You will probably be given two minutes to speak at this online meeting. Please recommend to the Board that they delay the vote until everyone has more time to study the proposal.

Remember, SCEA is an electric cooperative, meaning that you are a part owner and member. You elect the Board Members who ultimately decide the future of our Co-op. If you are unable to attend the virtual March 29 meeting, you can contact all seven board members by email with your comments and suggestions. Use this link to find their email contacts.

Please keep your comments polite and civil. Thank you.

Roger Cox

GCEA Member