Some Charlotte County residents will see lower power bills in July

Published 11:58 pm Wednesday, June 26, 2024

The cost of power bills for some Charlotte County residents will soon be dropping. That’s the news coming out of Southside Electric Cooperative (SEC), in the wake of a decision made by its parent company’s board of directors. 

By a majority vote at their June meeting, the Old Dominion Electric Cooperative Board of Directors (ODEC) agreed to  $1.50 per megawatt rate reduction. ODEC provides wholesale power to SEC, which then distributes it to members across 18 counties, including Charlotte, Lunenburg and Prince Edward.

ODEC officials say the company has experienced lower costs for generating and purchasing power over the past several months, largely a result of less expensive fuel used to make electricity and lower power prices across the region.

“This is great news for our members. Whenever ODEC lowers the amount it charges SEC, we are delighted to pass on the savings to our members,” said SEC President and CEO Jason Loehr. “At a time when inflation continues to affect families and a hotter summer means more use of air conditioning, this reduction in the power cost adjustment will allow members to save on their electric bills.”

The power cost adjustment charged members is based on how much it costs to generate electricity.

When will it take effect?

The lower rate goes into effect in July, meaning SEC members will see a reduction in their bills that same month. The amount of decrease will be based on the amount of power used.

“SEC is Here For You, our members. The Cooperative always wants to provide electricity at the best possible price and to offer programs that enhance members’ communities,” said Dr. Frank Bacon, chair of the Board of Directors. 

Both SEC and ODEC are not-for-profit companies, meaning they provide safe and reliable electricity at the lowest possible cost.

A big difference in power bills

It’s a big difference from the announcement made last week by Central Virginia Electric. 

CVEC’s argument is that they had to raise rates in order to cover the cost of what became a very expensive two year period. When asked, company officials pointed to 2022 as the beginning of the problem. That’s when they say the cost of generating power, the cost of materials and taxes, spiked by $12 million. In order to protect members during the pandemic, CVEC officials said, they didn’t get that money back immediately by raising rates then. 

They also point to changes taking part with other companies as a reason for the hike. Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power have gone through a series of transmission upgrades, as we’ve reported over the last year. But CVEC systems can’t accept the higher voltage generated by those new transmission lines, company officials argue, without making substantial changes of their own. As a result, CVEC is in the process of rebuilding multiple substations and transmission lines across our area.