Manager’s Message – June 2023
We have received questions from members on why an increase in the price of natural gas would raise electric rates.
The cooperative’s wholesale electric portfolio is roughly 50% hydro power, 5% solar and geothermal and 45% driven by natural gas. Those percentages are for a year with normal hydro power deliveries.
Our hydro power comes primarily from Shasta Dam, with some coming from the Folsom and New Melones reservoirs. When there’s a drought, we still must pay for the hydro power even though we aren’t receiving it all. We also have to then buy the replacement power.
Last year, Plumas-Sierra REC received only half of the normal hydro power. PSREC had to buy the rest from the market or buy more natural gas and run it through the generation we own. The bottom line for all of 2022 and the beginning of 2023 was that natural gas was the fuel setting the price for electricity in the western United States.
Spikes in the price of natural gas drove up the wholesale price of power. PSREC is normally resourced well, but the impact of the drought pushed us into the market, and the replacement cost for power was very high.
Things are better this year, but we still have to make up for 2022 and the beginning of 2023.
The PSREC board will review the cooperative’s ability to reduce the WPCA for the second half of the year. Any reduction in rates would be modest.
Wildfire Mitigation Plan
PSREC will present its Wildfire Mitigation Plan during the board meeting at 10 a.m June 28. The meeting will be open to the public for the Wildfire Mitigation Plan presentation and a public comment period following. Members can review PSREC’s Wildfire Mitigation Plan draft at our website. Please email our Marketing Team with any comments regarding the plan. If you have any questions, call (530) 832-6032.
Public Safety Power Shutoffs
Be prepared as wildfire season approaches. Learn how to protect your home and family at the Prevent Wildfire webpage. Part of being prepared includes being ready for Public Safety Power Shutoffs.
PG&E plans to turn off portions of its
grid during extreme fire danger, high-wind events and other critical situations. PG&E will disconnect lines in medium- to high-risk areas in the Sierras. This could affect our primary power supply that comes through Feather River Canyon.
When PG&E notifies us it intends to shut off our transmission feed, we will provide as much notice as possible to members. PSREC will post information to the PSREC website, Facebook and Twitter, our SmartHub app, and via email and text message. To sign up for text message and email notifications, log in to the SmartHub app from your mobile device or from www.psrec.coop and set your notification preferences. If you need assistance, call (530) 832-4261.
During PG&E shutoff events, PSREC will switch to our backup transmission feed from NV Energy if that connection is available. There is a limit to how much energy we can bring through that line, so members should be prepared for outages and rolling blackouts. If NV Energy also decides they must deenergize their line due to high fire danger, members of the cooperative will be without power.
Disconnect all nonessential electrical loads during a power outage. Every light and appliance turned off will help PSREC reenergize more of our system. If our power transmission system is constrained, conservation helps keep our electrical system stable and enables us to serve you and your neighbors.
Preparing for Outages
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. If someone in your home depends on electric-powered, life-sustaining equipment, plan for backup power.
If you install a generator to connect to your home’s electrical system, make sure it is done to code using an automated system such as 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, talk to a licensed electrician. PSREC offers a $500 rebate for the purchase of a generator to its members on its medical necessity list. To receive a generator rebate form, call (530) 832-4261 ext. 6032.
PSREC sends outage information via text, email and social media. Follow PSREC on Facebook and Twitter for outage notifications. To sign up for text and/or email notifications, log in to SmartHub to set your notification preferences. You can report outages and view the latest outage information on PSREC’s outage map through the SmartHub app.
As mentioned in last month’s column, Galeppi Ranch and North Loyalton are open for sales. Please call our office at (530) 832-4126 to get on our schedule. Additionally, PST continues to make progress the grants it received last year.
The projects are in various stages with construction really picking up with the improvements in weather.
PST’s fiber optic service offers speeds up to 1 gigabyte per second. Our coaxial service offers speeds up to 25 megabytes a second, and our wireless broadband service offers download speeds up to 20 Mbps.
With these speeds, you can stream videos on multiple devices at the same time without slowing down. You could even replace your TV provider with streaming services.
PST sends outage information via text and social media. Follow PST on Facebook for outage notifications. To sign up for text notifications, text PSTBB to (800) 555-2207.