Manager’s Message – July 2022
The 2022 annual meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 8. The August issue of Ruralite will have all the meeting details and your voting materials for the director election. Please be sure to look for that information. You can watch the meeting live on YouTube.
Up for election are District 2 (Greaeagle-Mohawk areas) served by Richard Short and District 5 (Doyle, Lake Davis, Long Valley, Washoe County areas) served by David Hansen.
If you are interested in running for the Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative (PSREC) Board of Directors and live in one of those districts, please contact me as soon as possible. The deadline for nominations by petition is July 25.
If you are unsure of your district, please visit the PSREC website to view the map or call the office at (530) 832-4261.
A copy of the PSREC Director Qualifications and Nomination Procedures is available on our website.
Proposed Rate Increase
Cooperative staff will be proposing a rate increase later this year and a second increase in early 2023.
Staff has not presented final numbers to the board, but the increase proposed for this year looks to be between 6% and 7% more than current rates.
There are multiple factors requiring a rate increase. Transmission costs from the California Independent System Operator and PG&E increased significantly at the first of the year.
We will be talking about our efforts to get away from the PG&E system in the months and years to come, but for now, we are stuck with this.
A significant event is closure of the State of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation California Conservation Center. Loss of the CCC is a blow to our economy in general and to the cooperative in particular. Large electric loads such as the state prisons help spread the cooperative’s fixed costs across a wider base. Losing these loads means the rest of the membership must absorb the net costs the CCC used to pay.
Another factor is that for several years we have been carrying over savings from the previous year’s power costs to offset higher rates. In 2021, we were hit by the impact of the Dixie fire and much higher power costs. With no savings to carry over in 2021, our rates were offset by a $1.15 million carry over. These events alone combine to increase our costs by $2.25 million per year.
We also have the ongoing impact of the drought. PSREC gets most of its hydropower from the Western Area Power Administration, which sells power from four federal hydro projects that are part of the Central Valley Project.
Of the four reservoirs, only Folsom—the smallest—has above-average water levels. The largest, Shasta, has half of its normal water.
PSREC pays the same for federal hydropower no matter how much is delivered. That means we are paying for power that isn’t there, and we then need to shop in the market for power. This year, the price of energy has risen dramatically.
Lastly, general inflation has hit the cooperative’s construction and operating costs.
We use the following process for a rate increase: staff recommends the increase; the board meets to determine if an increase is needed; if the board deems it is, PSREC shares the proposed rates with the members; after the board receives feedback from the members, it decides what to do; finally, PSREC notifies members of the increase. Please see the latest information on rates on our website.
Public Safety Power Shutoffs
PSREC’s primary power connection is through PG&E, and our backup is through NV Energy via our Marble Substation in Sierra Valley. Both have stated Public Safety Power Shutoffs are likely this summer due to the extreme drought and dry vegetation.
If both of our power feeds are simultaneously disconnected for PSPS events, our entire system will be without power until PG&E or NV Energy comes back online.
If someone in your home depends on electric-powered, life-sustaining equipment, make a plan for backup power and contact the PSREC office to ensure you are on our lifeline list. Members on the lifeline list are contacted if any planned outages on the system may affect their service.
PSREC offers a $500 rebate for the purchase of a generator to members on its medical necessity list. To receive a generator rebate form, please call (530) 832-4261 ext. 6032.
We highly recommend all members subscribe to outage notifications to receive the latest information. To sign up for text message and email notifications, log in to the SmartHub app from your mobile device or on our website to set your notification preferences. If you need assistance, please contact us at (530) 832-4261.
Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications participates in the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program, which offers a monthly service discount of up to $30 for qualified households. To find out if you are eligible, visit www.fcc.gov/acp. PST is working to expand broadband coverage of fiber optic service with speeds of up to 1 gigabyte per second through grant applications to the California Advanced Services Fund and federal programs.
Last month, crews began to build out PST’s fiber network in the city of Loyalton. Please contact us at (530) 832-4126 to be added to our interest list.
We are waiting for permission to start on several grants as this edition goes to press. Please check our website for updates. PST’s service offers unlimited data use so your family can stop fighting over bandwidth. If you haven’t already contacted us to sign up for service or to be added to our interest list, call us at (530) 832-4261 or visit our website.
Office is Partially Open
A reminder that PSREC’s office is partially open. PSREC and PST business can be conducted at our offices through a walk-up window. Walk-ups are available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Additionally, appointments are available for specialized issues.