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Clay Electric’s annual vehicle and equipment auction is going on now through April 30. More than 50 vehicles, pieces of equipment and other items are up for auction. Photos and... Continue Reading ›

A forecast team from Colorado State University has predicted a slightly below-average level of activity in the Atlantic basin this hurricane season. The CSU Tropical... Continue Reading ›

The co-op will offer a vehicle and equipment auction as an online event this month. Photos and information on each vehicle and other auction items will be posted on the George... Continue Reading ›

Clay Electric Cooperative’s members re-elected three members to the board of trustees during the co-op’s 81st annual meeting on Thursday, March 28 in Keystone Heights.... Continue Reading ›

Clay Electric’s 81st Annual Meeting will be held on Thursday, March 28 in Keystone Heights. Members will find it to be an activity-filled day. The morning’s musical entertainment... Continue Reading ›

Vote by mail is now open. The last day to request a ballot is March 19. Members can now request a vote by mail ballot to participate in this year’s board of trustees election... Continue Reading ›

Rate increase will take effect in October

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS -- Due to declining power sales and a decline in revenue the past few years, Clay Electric Cooperative will implement a small increase in its residential electricity rates, effective in October. Clay members use, on average, 1,171 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per month, and these members will see a 3.5 percent increase in their bill.

General Manager/CEO Ricky Davis announced the rate increase in his July Kilowatt message.

“It’s a difficult time to announce a rate increase, because many of our members are already financially strapped due to cost increases for many other essentials, like food and fuel,” Davis said.

Davis said the co-op’s power sales have been on a decline in recent years. Reasons include a sluggish economy and membership growth that has “flatlined” the past few years. Other negative conditions include persistent unemployment, lagging job growth and a high rate of home foreclosures in Clay’s 14-county service area.

The rate increase will appear on members’ bills beginning on October 4. The 3.5 percent increase includes the slightly higher energy charge (from $0.0748/kWh to $0.0763/kWh) and a $3 increase in the customer charge. The customer charge, currently $14, will go to $17. A customer charge is common among electric utilities and it helps utilities recover the fixed costs of the equipment, poles, wire and transformers necessary to get power to customers’ accounts. The cost of these items has gone up considerably in recent years.

Davis said he is proud that Clay Electric has been able to offer its members some of the lowest rates in the state in recent years, and that even with the rate increase, Clay will still be very competitive with other utilities.

To hold the line on the co-op’s internal expenses, Davis announced a number of cost-saving measures to be implemented.

Cutbacks include laying off a contract crew involved in painting padmount transformers and a contract crew handling ground-line pole treating.

The co-op is also evaluating its Vegetation Management program for possible savings, and a top-to-bottom review of the co-op’s construction and maintenance program will be done to ensure proper focus.

Davis said next year’s budget will be a bare-bones spending plan, and everything will be closely scrutinized.

A five-year building program that addressed a need to replace aging buildings is also being put on hold.

“These types of capital expenditures don’t affect our expenses all that much because the money is borrowed and paid back over a long period, but I think it’s wise to put these projects on hold,” Davis said.