Rate Visualization Tool
BARC Electric Cooperative’s electric rates are cost-based; that is to say that rates only recover what is necessary to operate and maintain the electric distribution system. Cost-based rates include three main components:
- Cost of power we purchase from our power suppliers
- Cost to operate and distribute that power to members
- A margin to ensure financial and operational stability over time
One of the greatest advantages of being served by a cooperative is we work only to serve our members. Co-ops are not-for-profit 501(c)(12) organizations, meaning we are solely focused on providing safe, reliable and affordable power. We do not have stockholders demanding returns on investment or expecting large dividends.
Because we generate very little of our own power, this is our single-biggest expense. Power suppliers set the costs that we pay, and we work with our suppliers to keep costs as low as possible while ensuring a stable supply of energy. These costs are collected through the “Electric Supply Services” rates on your bill.
As a distribution utility, our focus is on operating and maintaining the electric system to distribute power from the substation to your home or business. This involves both fixed and variable costs associated with maintaining our rights-of-way, and operating and maintaining the electric system, substations and meters. It also includes administrative expenses and other fixed costs, such as interest expense and depreciation. These costs are collected through the “Electric Distribution Services” rates on your bill.
Lastly, all electric cooperative rates include a margin. Although perhaps counterintuitive to the idea of “cost-based” rates, in fact the margin serves two important cost-based purposes. First, it helps finance the replacement and upgrade of electric infrastructure, vehicles and equipment. Second, it ensures stability in the event of major maintenance issues, storm restoration, and unplanned emergencies.
At year-end, operating margins are allocated to each member’s account as capital credits (also called patronage capital). This represents your investment in the cooperative and all its assets. Capital credits are returned to members as financial and operational conditions allow, much like a corporation issues a dividend to its investors.
It can be confusing to understand how your monthly electric bill relates to our overall energy sales, expenses and margins. To help our members, we have developed a unique “rate visualization tool” specific to our current retail rates and your estimated (or actual) monthly electric consumption. It is the first of its kind in the country, and hopefully makes a complicated subject easier to understand for our members.