Members of Central Texas Electric Co-op in Board District Six (San Saba County) met on Monday night, June 7, in the Cherokee High School Cafeteria.
The members were welcomed by the co-op’s Chief Executive Officer, Robert A. Loth, III. Mr. Loth opened the meeting with the introduction of members of the co-op’s Board of Directors in attendance. They were: Michael Randolph, Board President from San Saba County; Gerald Kaspar, Stanley Keese, and W.C (Dub) Stewart, all representing Llano County; Riley Kothmann, from Mason County; and David D. Smith from Gillespie County.
Loth introduced a video report, highlighting changes in the energy marketplace that will affect central Texas utility consumers in the future. In the report, Loth notes that we’ve all probably heard more about "change" than we ever wanted. Of all the places we encounter "change", maybe the closest to home is the energy marketplace. Across the nation our leaders are looking at drastic changes to our sources of electric energy. Carbon taxes and cap and trade regulations are more than a possibility. Renewable resources and energy conservation will no longer be an option, but a requirement. Here in the hill country, these changes are altering our landscape, as the transmission grid expands to accommodate new sources of renewable energy.
In the video report, Loth and Board President Michael Ran-dolph detailed how some of these changes would impact CTEC members. One of these changes was, because effective April 1, 2010, the cooperative implemented a revised rate structure. According to Randolph these changes were deemed necessary by the board because rates charged to a significant percentage of co-op members were much lower than the cost incurred by the cooperative in serving those members.
Taking a step to reduce this rate subsidy, the cooperative raised its Distribution Access Charge. For residential consumers, this charge increased from $15 per meter per month, to $22.50. Randolph noted that the revised Access Charge is comparable to that charged by nearby rural electric cooperatives, including Bandera Electric and Pedernales Electric.
Another change referenced in the video presentation included Central Texas participation in the Touchstone Network of rural electric cooperatives. By joining in this group with 700 other co-ops, Randolph notes, CTEC strengthens its position with policy makers at the national level. Loth indicated that Touchstone also provides economies of scale that bring value home to Central Texas members, including an online energy audit accessible from CTEC’s website.
The video report concluded with an update regarding CTEC’s future power supply. Randolph explained that the co-op has fundamental differences with the LCRA, the Co-op’s present wholesale power provider, over rate-setting and governance policies. These differences have led the CTEC Board of Directors to the conclusion that renewal of the LCRA contract, when it expires in 2016, is not in the best interest of cooperative members. CTEC management has been directed to find alternative power supply options.
CEO Loth added that there is an adequate supply of generation available to meet our needs, with favorable terms. "At this juncture it appears that some combination of purchased power agreements makes the most sense for Central Texas", Loth said. He added, "This would allow us to better understand the impact of legislation limiting carbon emissions before any equity investment in power generation is made. And it would give us an opportunity to take advantage of advances in renewable energy sources like solar and wind power".
The meeting closed with a question and answer session, and a drawing for door prizes. The Co-op’s Annual Meeting this year is scheduled for August 17, 2010, and will be held in Fredericksburg, Texas at the High School Auditorium.