Customers of two area electric cooperatives will pay more for their electricity beginning with the February billing.
Both Valley Rural Electric Cooperative and New Enterprise Rural Electric Cooperative have announced rate hikes while Bedford Rural Electric Cooperative's rate will remain unchanged.
All three cooperatives purchase their electricity from Allegheny Electric Cooperative. Allegheny negotiates for an alliance of 13 electric co-ops in Pennsylvania and one in New Jersey, securing lower wholesale rates from a variety of sources, Valley Rural Director of Member Services Susan Penning said.
It is up to each cooperative to set their own rates, New Enterprise General Manager and CEO Rick Eichelberger said.
Valley Rural's cost of generation and transmission is increasing from 6.52 cents per kilowatt hour to 6.80 cents per kwh and the price of distribution is increasing from 2.39 cents per kwh to 2.75 cents per kwh, which means the residential general service rate will increase from 8.90 cents to 9.55 cents per kwh, co-op President Wayne F. Miller wrote in a letter to customers.
"We base our increase on the rising cost of wholesale power costs; we have to pay for the power and it is going up," Penning said. "The high price of materials, such as our trucks, also factors into it."
Valley Rural's average customer, who uses 1,000 kwh per month and currently pays about $116.50 per month, will pay about $6.50 more per month, Penning said.
"The last time we had a rate increase was July 1, 2009, when we increased the base monthly charge for distribution," Penning said, "We also had an increase Oct. 1, 2007. Before that, we hadn't had a rate increase for 15 years."
Valley Rural serves nearly 22,000 customers in parts of Bedford, Blair, Centre, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata and Mifflin counties.
Meanwhile, customers of New Enterprise Rural Electric Cooperative - the state's smallest cooperative - which serves about 3,500 customers in parts of Bedford, Fulton and Huntingdon counties, also will pay more.
"We are increasing our generation price from 6.50 cents per kwh to 7.20 per kilowatt hour. Our last increase, a slight increase, was in 2008. Our distribution rate is staying the same. It hasn't changed in several years," Eichelberger said. "Our average customer, who uses about 900 kilowatt hours a month, will see his bill increase about $6.30 per month."
Bedford Rural Electric Cooperative, which serves about 9,500 customers in parts of Bedford, Fulton and Somerset counties, plans to keep its generation charge at 6.132 cents per kwh, General Manager Brooks Shoemaker said.
"That has been our rate for several years," Shoemaker said.
Electric co-ops started to be formed in the mid-1930s when President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Rural Electrification Administration to help rural residents and farmers who
couldn't easily get electricity because it wasn't profitable for private power companies to extend their lines to these areas.