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Flint Energies plans for Apr.1 rate changes

Effective with member billings that begin on Apr. 1, Flint Energies’ base residential rate will move from $27/month to $29/month. This change continues an initiative that’s been underway for several years to gradually align the monthly service charge with the actual fixed costs of operating the electric system.

“We have calculated the actual cost of providing service to a residential location at more than $32/month,” according to Flint Energies Vice President Marian McLemore. “The cost of service calculation is updated every two years and offers a direct and accurate reflection of current expenses.”

The base charge is the fixed amount charged each billing period to cover Flint's cost of a meter, reading the meter, billing the account through data processing, and collecting and crediting payment, McLemore added. It also includes covering the co-op’s cost to maintain more than 6,700 miles of electric lines and 53 substations, while providing 24/7 service and an outage reporting system. The base charge averages to under a dollar a day.

The kilowatt-hour charge for all rates will remain unchanged. The wholesale power cost adjustment rider, which can change monthly, fluctuates based on the costs to generate power.

“As a local, not-for-profit electric cooperative, we’re committed to providing reliable service at an affordable cost,” said McLemore. “Our primary goal is to minimize the effects of potential increases while maintaining our high standard of safe, continuous service to our members.

“We understand that every dollar matters to Flint members. Our employees are local men and women who pay the same monthly bills our members do. We work to reduce expenses and look for new ways to operate more efficiently to help control costs for all members.”

“Even with the rate changes, the value of electricity remains very high,” McLemore adds. “Over recent years, electricity’s price has risen less than many other member costs.”

Base rate changes will also be in effect for the other rate schedules which have been billed at $26/month in the past. Those rate schedules will be billed at $29/month beginning Apr. 1 and will affect approximately 800 non-residential accounts. In addition, small commercial accounts that have been billed at $29/month will be billed $31/month starting Apr. 1. Members may compare current residential rates online at the Georgia Public Service Commission website: http://www.psc.state.ga.us/electric/surveys/residentialrs.asp.

Option for Prepaid

More than 9,000 Flint Energies members have opted for the Pay Your Way prepaid service. The rate charged for Pay Your Way is exactly the same rate as paid by other residential members. The $29/month base charge is actually allocated and charged on a daily basis for Pay Your Way accounts at the rate of 97 cents per day, plus taxes. Pay Your Way members make no deposits with Flint and they do not receive a monthly billing statement. Account balances are distributed electronically based on the choice of members. Pay Your Way members pay in advance for electricity online, on their smart phone, in an office, at a payment kiosk or at a remote payment station on a schedule of their own choosing. There are no deposits, no late fees and no disconnect charges with Pay Your Way.

Option for Low Income

Members who receive a Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) check to help them pay for electricity can be placed on Flint’s low-income rate. After Apr. 1, members that confirm their LIHEAP standing with a check payment will be eligible for a reduced base service charge of $14.50 instead of $29 per month. LIHEAP is administered by the local Community Action Agencies.

Members can reduce the effects of the rate increase on their electric bill through these simple tasks:

1) Conduct an online energy audit at www.flintenergies.com or www.togetherwesave.com. By making small changes in your energy consumption, you reduce the amount of your electric bill. Since heating and cooling accounts for more than 50% of energy bills, setting your thermostat to 68 degrees in winter and 78 degrees in summer months can optimize your savings. For every degree above the recommended temperature in winter or below in summer can cost an additional 3-5% in energy costs.

2) Reducing your electric bill is as simple as changing a light bulb. For example, if you replace your five most frequently used light bulbs with energy-efficient LED light bulbs, you could save approximately $75 a year in energy costs.

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