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Dear Editor,

SDCEA has announced plans to change the way they bill you for your electricity use. An article about these changes is in the January issue of their electric cooperative magazine, Colorado Country Life.  Also see the green boxes at the bottom of the home page of SDCEA’s website at myelectric.coop.

SDCEA’s plans are just wrong.

First, the monthly service availability charge, which all members must pay regardless of how much electricity they use, will increase from $31.83 per month to $46.15. Additionally, customers using less than 590 kWh’s monthly will see their bills increase, thus penalizing low-income and low-use members and disincentivizing energy conservation. Instead, SDCEA plans to reward high-use customers with lower bills, encouraging more energy use.

Furthermore, the new billing changes single out net-metered renewable energy members by charging an extra fee during nighttime hours and when these members’ systems are not generating that will cause their bills to increase by two to three times. Levying this extra charge only on net-metered members is discriminatory, arguably illegal, and a blatant attempt to disincentivize renewable energy generation. The Colorado Net Metering Law states, “A cooperative electric association shall provide net metering service at nondiscriminatory rates.”

By encouraging more energy use and penalizing net-metered renewable energy members, SDCEA is moving in the opposite direction from Colorado’s goal to reduce carbon emissions, and their parent regional cooperative Tri-State Generation and Transmission’s Responsible Energy Plan and Electric Resource Plan, which seek to increase renewable energy and reduce fossil fuel sources.

The billing changes that SDCEA plans to implement February 1 are based on a Cost of Service Study that SDCEA conducted without members’ input. Although SDCEA is a member-owned cooperative tasked with being transparent, they have refused to let their members see the Cost of Service Study, so we can’t see what they are basing their billing changes on.

These billing changes are not in the best interest of SDCEA members and should not be implemented.

Call or email our elected SDCEA board members and demand they defend their position on these unfair billing changes or stand up against them. SDCEA Board: Joe Redetzke, Chair redetzke@myelectric.coop, Dan Daly, Vice Chair daly@myelectric.coop, Goeffrey Gerk gerk@myelectric.coop, Charles Abel II abel@myelectric.coop, Suzanne Kelly kelly@myelectric.coop, David Volpe volpe@myelectric.coop, Tom Flower flower@myelectric.coop.

Susan Greiner

Buena Vista