By Ryan Cornell
Customers of Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative could see higher utility rates this summer.
The cooperative recently filed an application with the State Corporation Commission requesting approval to adjust its base rates.
According to SVEC spokesman Mike Aulgur, the rate increase would affect all consumers of the coop, in both its "legacy territories" as well as areas formerly served by Potomac Edison before July 2010. He said the rate adjustment would appear on bills rendered on or after July 5.
Legacy consumers, who reside in portions of Shenandoah, Augusta and Rockingham counties, would see their electric rates increase by about 7.5 percent, from $107.90 to $115.91 per 1,000 kilowatt hours used.
Consumers acquired from Potomac Edison, who reside in Shenandoah, Warren, Frederick, Clarke, Page and Highland counties and Winchester, would see a 5 percent increase in their rates, from $103.37 to $108.53 per 1,000 kilowatt hours used.
Aulgur said the rates were adjusted following a "cost of service study" commissioned by SVEC and required by the State Corporation Commission to determine exactly what it costs to provide members with service.
The State Corporation Commission, which has a hearing date set for July 15, will determine three outcomes for the cooperative, Aulgur said.
"They could say your rates are just and reasonable -- we agree with you -- go ahead and implement the rates formally," he said. "They could say you have underestimated the costs of service and the rates need to be increased more. They could say you have overestimated rates and a portion of the rates have to be given back to members."
The adjusted rates are subject to refund based on the commission's ultimate decision, he added.
"So, for example, we basically hold those rates in escrow," he said.
He said the rate increases result from a rise in the cost of wires, transformers and other equipment required to distribute electricity as well as an increase in the costs of generation and transmission of energy.
"We don't look to make a profit," he said. "We look to be able to have the revenues and resources to serve and that's it. And anything left goes back to our members in capital credits."
For more information, visit svec.coop.
Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org