There are several key initiatives that must be addressed by the SDCEA board such as a fair and balanced transition to distributed renewable power generation. However, one issue that seems to be lacking facts and specifics among the candidates is the overall high cost of service to SDCEA members.
According to the website findenergy.com, SDCEA is ranked number 51 out of the 55 electric utilities in Colorado for cost to the consumer (55 being the most expensive). This puts SDCEA in the top 7 percent of the most expensive electricity in Colorado. Note that their data shows the bundled price (meaning the monthly service access fee plus the kWh rate combined into a single aggregate rate).
There have certainly been complaints about cost and some exaggerated claims about being the most expensive in Colorado (although we’re not far off). But I have yet to see a substantive acknowledgement of this by any of the candidates and more importantly a concrete plan to address this.
I would like to see specifics addressing why our electricity is priced the way it is. SDCEA financials (balance sheet and income statement) are published each year as a part of the annual report. As of now, the latest data we have is from 2022. However, this information is not sufficient to explain why our costs are so high.
The 2022 Annual Report makes reference to a Cost Of Service Study conducted by a consultant called Power System Engineering. The only material available on the SDCEA website about this study simply says that it validated the current costs and made suggestions about alternate rate structures. The actual study does not seem to be available. SDCEA seems to be relying on this study as justification for maintaining our high rates. Where is the explanation for why the rates are high and what to do about reducing them? Why is the SDCEA cost structure in the top 7 percent of the state? Is our area that different and more difficult to service than the other 93 percent of Colorado?
I would like all the candidates to be specific about what they believe the current financial condition of SDCEA is and offer specific plans to address the root causes of this high cost. Knowing a candidate’s background, education, and experience is necessary but not sufficient. Please, candidates, give us specifics so we may make an informed choice based on facts and a coherent plan.