Clay Electric Cooperative announced Monday that it would be increasing its rates due to rising natural gas costs. The cooperative said the higher rates would begin with the April billing cycles.
Customers using the household average of 1,000 kilowatts of power will pay $123.90, an increase of $4. The previous cost was $119.90 and that took effect in January, the cooperative said in a statement.
The increase for each customer will vary based on the amount of electricity used. The higher cost will be shown in the Power Cost Adjustment (PCA) on a customer’s power bill.
The rise in natural gas prices is higher than had been forecast, the cooperative said. Clay Electric purchases the power generated with natural gas from Seminole Electric and the higher natural gas prices are increasing those costs.
About 70 percent of the fuel used to generate power in Florida is natural gas.
Ricky Davis, Clay Electric general manager/CEO, said markets are currently predicting natural gas prices will continue to climb and fluctuate in 2022 and the soaring generation costs are projected to cost Seminole Electric members an extra $40 million the rest of year.
“We work hard to maintain our costs and provide affordable electricity, but these large fuel increases to generate power make this rate change unavoidable,” Davis said. “This is one of only a few increases in the Power Cost Adjustment since 2018 due to historically stable coal and natural gas prices.”
The PCA is a separate line item on each Clay Electric bill statement, which reflects the increases or decreases in the co-op's cost of power. The co-op's cost of wholesale power is now more than 70 percent of Clay's total expenses, so the cooperative said in a statement that it's critical it recover all of its wholesale power costs in its retail sales.
When the cost of power is greater than the amount included in the base rate, the PCA is a charge. When the cost is less, the PCA is a credit, the cooperative said.
Clay Electric provides power to most areas of Clay County.