Have you seen the price of eggs?
For the past several months that question has become a quick way to strike up small talk with an acquaintance at the local café, ball game, or community event. It may even be more popular than talking about the weather. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the price of eggs increased by 32 percent in 2022. USDA reported in January that the overall cost of food in America increased by 9.9 percent last year and the agency’s prediction for 2023 is that food prices will increase another 7 percent.
Food, fuel, and energy are three of the most basic necessities that we all need to keep our families safe, healthy, and warm. And while prices at the pump and in your pantry continue to rise, I am pleased to let you know that the price of electricity will not be going up for Northern Electric members. Northern Electric Cooperative and your Board of Directors have adopted a budget for 2023 that will not require a rate increase.
All our members are reaping the benefits of being part of a co-op because the success of our electric cooperative system is keeping your rates flat this year. Northern Electric is a not-for-profit cooperative which means that we exist to provide you - the members at the end of the line - with safe and reliable electricity. That is it. We do not exist to make a profit (or margins) and if we do have excess margins, we pass it on to our members.
Northern Electric is also a co-op member. Northern Electric is a member of East River Electric Power Cooperative and Basin Electric Power Cooperative. Those cooperatives operate our wholesale generation and transmission of electricity. They are also set up as not-for-profit co-ops to provide safe and reliable electricity to members. Basin Electric had larger than expected margins in 2022 because it took advantage of higher commodity prices through its subsidiaries and had larger than expected sales to non-members. That success benefits the entire cooperative system and allows us to keep your rates stable.
Northern Electric has felt the pinch of higher prices for materials, fuel, and labor just like every other business and household across the country. However, we can maintain steady rates without any increases because we are a co-op and we are part of a cooperative network. The success of our generation and transmission cooperatives is keeping your electricity affordable.
Yes, the price of everything is going up. USDA is expecting another 27 percent increase in the price of eggs this year which will have even more people asking, ‘have you seen the price of eggs?’ But, with no rate increase to your Northern Electric bill in 2023 we hope the cooperative difference will continue to make a difference in your budget.
By: Char Hager