Manager’s Message – June 2019
Thank you for participating in the meetings last month to provide your input on the proposed rate increase and PSREC’s Wildfire Mitigation Plan. We received a lot of good input and suggestions from members.
The board of directors has approved the rate increase, which will affect the facilities charge and be implemented in two parts. The first increase takes effect July 1, and will be an additional $4.32 per month for residential members; $8.05 per month for single-phase commercial members; and $11.20 per month for three-phase commercial members.
The second increase takes effect January 1, 2020, and will be an additional $2.67 per month for residential members; $4.95 per month for single-phase commercial members; and $6.85 per month for three-phase commercial members.
Our other rate classes have been notified directly of the structure of their increase.
It has been five years since the last increase of 3.7 percent. Your board of directors and management team strives to operate the cooperative in the most efficient, cost-effective manner possible, but the costs to operate the cooperative are increasing due to legislation and wildfire impacts.
As much as possible, we try to operate on a cost-of-service basis, meaning each member pays the costs associated with providing service to their property, and each rate class should have roughly the same rate of return. Our cooperative’s costs do not change much with use. Up to 70 percent of our costs are fixed, including the cost of operating the utility and the fixed portion of our power plants. We are collecting only a portion of our fixed costs through facilities charges. We also try to get the cost of service as close as possible to actual costs when looking at all-electric homes versus homes that use primarily propane, or seasonal versus full-time residents. For these reasons, the rate increase was to the facilities charge so we can collect more of our fixed costs through the fixed fees.
PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoffs
To reduce the risk of incidents such as the Camp Fire, PG&E will turn off portions of its grid during extreme fire danger, high wind events and other critical situations. PG&E has notified us it intends to disconnect lines in medium- to high-risk areas in the Sierras, affecting our primary power supply that comes through the Feather River Canyon.
We will provide as much notice as possible to members when PG&E notifies us it intends to shut off our transmission feed. PSREC will post information on www.psrec.coop, Facebook and Twitter, and via text message. To sign up for text messages, text “PSREC” to 95577.
We will switch to our backup transmission feed from NV Energy, but there is a limit to how much energy we can bring through that line, so members need to be prepared for outages and rolling blackouts. During a power outage, please disconnect all nonessential electrical loads. Every light and appliance turned off will help PSREC re-energize more of our system. If our power transmission system is constrained, conservation helps keep our electrical system stable and enables us to serve both you and your neighbors.
Preparing for power outages can help make the best of a bad situation. Equip your home with a power outage kit that includes a flashlight, battery-powered lamp or lantern, and extra batteries; candles and matches; a battery-powered radio with extra batteries; easily accessible emergency phone numbers for your utility, doctor, fire and police; a telephone connected directly to the phone jack (cordless phones need electricity to operate); a one-week supply of drinking water and nonperishable food and a cooler for storing frequently used foods. Food spoils more quickly if the refrigerator door is opened. Keep these items on hand to make an outage more tolerable: a manual can opener; an alternative cooking source; and a deck of cards, board games and a book.If someone in your home depends on electric-powered, life-sustaining equipment, make a plan for backup power.
If you are going to install a generator and connect to your homes electrical system, please make sure that it is done to code using an automated system like a Generac switch, or a manual double-pull double-throw switch that separates your house from the grid. Failure to do so could cause injury or fire, leading to potentially massive liability on your part and disconnection from the grid if discovered. For more information on a double-pull double-throw switch, please talk to a licensed electrician.
Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane or charcoal-burning device inside a home or garage. Locate the unit away from doors, windows and vents to prevent exposure to carbon monoxide.
Please install surge protectors on any sensitive electronics and appliances. Be sure to buy surge protectors that have a warranty for your connected load.
June is National Safety Month
Safety is a serious issue, especially when it comes to electrical safety. Because we live and work in the communities we serve, we care about our neighbors. Plumas-Sierra conducts electrical safety demonstrations in schools and for community events.
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, each year thousands of people in the United States are critically injured and electrocuted as a result of electrical fires and accidents in their own homes. Many of these are preventable. There is much you can do to keep yourself and your community safe around electricity.
Don’t attempt electrical do-it-yourself projects or overload your outlets. Report downed power lines, unlocked substations or padmount transformers that look amiss.
For more electrical safety information, please visit www.psrec.coop. If you would like us to provide a safety demonstration at your school or community event, please contact us at 800-555-2207.
PST has submitted applications to the California Public Utilities Commission’s California Advanced Services Fund for grants to fund expansion of broadband in many of the hardest to reach areas of our service territory. We will find out about funding for that in November. We are continuing the expansion of our system in easier to reach areas in real time.
PST’s coax and wireless broadband services offer download speeds of up to 20 Mbps. Our fiber optic services can go up to 1 gigabyte per second, with even faster speeds available, if needed. With these speeds, you can stream videos on multiple devices at the same time without slowing down. You could even eliminate your cable bill with streaming services. For more information and to sign up for service, call us at 800-221-3474 or visit www.pst.coop.
If you have any questions, please contact me at (800) 555-2207 ext. 6076 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.