Rural rates set to rise

Published 7:58 am Saturday, July 18, 2009

Residents living in rural Pike County will soon be paying more for power.

South Alabama Electric Cooperative, the utility provider for residents in Banks, Goshen and outside the Troy and Brundidge power areas, has announced residents will see an average 4.7 percent increase on their bills beginning Aug. 1.

On average, residents will be spending about $7.46 extra each month. That’s based on the average power usage of 1,200 kilowatt hours.

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Chellie Phillips, spokeswoman for South Alabama Electric Cooperative, said the increase comes after the company has held rates steady for the last 17 years.

The new charge will be a customer charge, going up from 8 to 16 percent.

“It’s the cost of doing business,” Phillips said. “Our supplies and materials have gone up, wireless transformers have gone up 25 percent.

“In order to provide that service people have come to expect, we have to raise our customer charge.”

Phillips said the charge enables residents to have power available at their homes. While the company has not raised rates in 17 years, it has passed on higher fuel charges to its consumers, as they are passed on to the company.

“When fuel charges from PowerSouth (supplier for South Alabama) go up , we have to pass that charge on that way,” Phillips said. “When they go down, we can take it back.”

Phillips said since South Alabama Electric Cooperative is a cooperative company, it does not charge any more for power than the cost of running business.

“Anything over and above what it costs to run the business is returned to our members in the form of capital credits,” Phillips said.