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LCEC reduces rates; fourth reduction in two years

By Staff | Jan 4, 2016

Beginning Jan. 1, LCEC customers saw the fourth rate decrease in two years.

LCEC electric rates are below the national average, and among the lowest of 56 utilities in Florida, co-op officials said in a release issued Monday.

“Employees work hard to provide the best possible price for reliable service to customers and it was possible to reduce rates again due to a calculated business strategy, process improvements, cost management, use of technology and efficient work practices,” the release states.

“As an electric cooperative, LCEC is not in business to make money, only to serve its members/customers by delivering reliable, cost competitive electricity and service,” the release continues. “LCEC is governed by its members represented by a ten-member Board of Trustees. At their December meeting, the Board reached a unanimous decision to reduce rates again in 2016. This marks a residential rate reduction of nearly seven percent since 2014, bringing rates from $114.16 per 1,000 kWh to $106.55 per 1,000 kWh. Customers are paying less for electricity now than they were in 2008!”

LCEC officials said co-op rates are “well below the state average.

“According to the Florida Municipal Electric Association, the average investor-owned electric utility rate in Florida is $128.59 per 1,000 kWh. The average rate for the 33 municipal electric utilities in Florida is $114.41 per 1,000 kWh. LCEC rates are well below the state average and the lowest among Florida cooperatives,” according to the release.

“LCEC also returned more than $10 million to active and inactive cooperative members in 2015 in the form of retired equity,” officials said.

“Cooperative members invest in the electric system and are allocated equity annually,” the release states. “This reduces the need for costly loans or bonds that would increase electric rates. When it is financially feasible, a portion of the equity is retired and returned to members/customers. Over the years, LCEC has retired and returned more than $231 million in equity.”

Low rates remain a goal for the non-prfit co-operative, officials said.

“One of the LCEC long-range business objectives is to become one of the lowest-cost residential electric providers in Florida,” the rlease states. “LCEC is currently among the lowest ten and striving to balance low rates with maintaining and operating a reliable electric system.”