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Holy Cross Energy to increase rates to offset rising cost of service

February 16, 2024, 7:18 am

Holy Cross Energy recently issued the following press release on an upcoming rate increase due to inflation and supply chain issues:

Glenwood Springs, CO, February 14, 2024 – Holy Cross Energy (HCE), the local not-for-profit electric cooperative, continues to fulfill its mission of providing safe, reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy and services that improve the quality of life for its members and their communities. In its 2020 Strategic Plan, the HCE Board of Directors committed to enabling long-term financial sustainability by obtaining sufficient revenue, containing cost increases, and maintaining a strong balance sheet while diligently managing operations costs so that HCE rates stay at a competitive level, high costs of operating in its service territory notwithstanding. 

Like all businesses, HCE has experienced increased costs due to higher-than-normal inflation and constraints in the supply chain throughout the entire economy. This directly translates to higher costs for delivering electricity to members over a modern electric distribution grid that needs additional investment to protect against cyber and physical attacks and to reduce the threat of wildfire ignition. 

Over the past five years, HCE has been able to offset these higher costs for delivery of electricity by sourcing cheaper electricity from new renewable energy projects and wholesale suppliers, saving more than $30 million in power supply costs since adopting its Seventy70Thirty clean energy plan in September 2018. 

“Through our shift to cleaner energy resources, HCE has been able to hold our cost increases below the rate of inflation while continuing to invest in the reliability, safety, and security of our electric service,” said HCE President and CEO Bryan Hannegan. “While no one likes to see their electric bill increase, HCE’s electric rates are among the lowest in the State of Colorado even with these rate changes.”  

As a result, at its January 2024 meeting the HCE Board of Directors approved an increase in the monthly customer charge based on individual rate classes, starting April 1, 2024. This increase addresses rising costs due to inflation and better aligns HCE rates with how its actual costs are incurred. Small and large members are separated by their monthly demand reading falling below or above 50kW. 

Rate Class Current Customer Charge Customer Charge,  
starting April 1, 2024 
Average % Increase  
on Members’ Total Bill 
Small Residential $12.00/month $16.00/month 4.50% 
Large Residential $28.00/month $45.00/month 1.33% 
Small Commercial $18.00/month $20.00/month 0.92% 
Large Commercial $28.00/month $62.00/month 0.78% 

 Even with this increase in the customer charge: 

·         HCE will maintain the lowest residential customer charge among Colorado cooperatives.  

  • HCE will remain among the lowest commercial customer charges compared to other Colorado cooperatives.  
  • HCE will continue to have overall rates in the lowest 1/3 of all Colorado utilities, including cooperatives, municipal utilities, and investor-owned utilities.  

Additionally, the Electric Cost Adjustment (ECA), a fluctuating charge currently in place on member electric bills, will be incorporated into the per-kilowatt-hour energy charge in a revenue-neutral change that, by itself, will not affect members’ electric bills. The ECA averaged roughly one half-cent ($0.005) per kilowatt-hour during 2023, so the energy charge for all HCE members will be increased by that amount while the ECA will be reduced by the same amount. 

As part of the newly approved rates, there will be no changes to any demand charges, nor will there be a separate delivery charge imposed on the receipt of electricity. These previously proposed changes remain under discussion with the State of Colorado and the solar energy industry as HCE attempts to find a mutually beneficial alternative to current net metering policies in Colorado. 

“We recognize that this increase comes at a time when many HCE members are also struggling with cost increases for everything else – housing, food, health care, and other utilities,” Hannegan said. “HCE continues to provide its income-qualified members with free home energy audits and energy efficiency upgrades in partnership with Energy Outreach Colorado and local nonprofit partners, and HCE also offers energy efficiency rebates and programs to help all members save money on their bills.” 

Details on the proposed rate changes are posted at www.holycross.com/rates, and members are encouraged to review and send their comments in by March 16. 

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