OPALCO Board passes 2023 budget and rates

Posted December 2, 2022 at 4:34 pm by

OPALCO shares news about rate changes com­ing in 2023 and beyond.

The 2023 OPALCO annu­al bud­get was approved at the Nov. 17 board meet­ing. It includes a six per­cent rate increase for all mem­bers, fund­ing for con­struc­tion of the Bail­er Hill Com­mu­ni­ty Solar Project, and ener­gy effi­cien­cy incentives.

The bud­get fore­casts a six per­cent rate increas­es for each of the next five years to keep up with infla­tion, the ris­ing costs of pow­er and labor, and to man­age the co-op’s equi­ty posi­tion. The co-op uses equi­ty to bor­row fed­er­al funds for major cap­i­tal projects, like the sub­ma­rine cable replace­ments that are sched­uled in the next 10–20 years.

OPALCO con­tin­ues to lever­age grant funds and the Bon­neville Pow­er Admin­is­tra­tion rebate pro­gram to encour­age mem­bers to make their homes and busi­ness more ener­gy effi­cient and help reduce their total ener­gy spend­ing. OPALCO’s on-bill financ­ing pro­gram, Switch It Up, lets mem­bers start effi­cien­cy projects now and pay for them lat­er. Mem­bers in good stand­ing can get projects such as weath­er­iza­tion, solar and bat­tery projects, or upgrades to heat­ing sys­tems installed with no mon­ey down and two per­cent inter­est. Oth­er res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial rebates are also available.

OPALCO’s sec­ond com­mu­ni­ty solar project, the Bail­er Hill Micro­grid, is sched­uled to begin con­struc­tion in 2023, and mem­bers will be able to pur­chase a piece of the project as soon as next spring. Com­mu­ni­ty solar is local­ly pro­duced pow­er that mem­bers buy into and get cred­its on their bill for the ener­gy pro­duced. These projects are fund­ed through grants and by the mem­bers who buy into the project. This project will includes bat­tery stor­age like OPAL­CO’s Decatur Island Microgrid.

The bud­get also includes increased sup­port for ener­gy assis­tance to house­holds who strug­gle to pay their pow­er bill. There are two pro­grams that mem­bers can apply to for bill assis­tance — Project Pal, which is a grant once each year dur­ing the heat­ing sea­son, and Ener­gy Assist, which pro­vides a bill cred­it every month based on house­hold size. Islanders can apply for ener­gy assis­tance online or through the Fam­i­ly Resource Center.

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