Electric co-operative wins approval to raise rates

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(Host) An electric co-operative that serves 40,000 members has won approval to raise its rates by about 14%.

State utility regulators granted the rate increase to Vermont Electric Cooperative. The Johnson-based co-op serves customers in northern Vermont.

The co-op said it needed to charge more to cover increased power costs.

Many Vermont utilities have avoided large rate increases costs because of long-term contracts with Hydro Quebec and Vermont Yankee.

Those contracts expire in the next decade. And VEC Manager David Halquist said long-term contracts are a thing of the past.

(Halquist) “We’re buying off the open market. None of the markets will sell contracts longer than three years now. You look at the 20-year agreements, they’re long gone.”

(Host) The Public Service Board also ordered the co-op to spend more on line-clearing programs. Last October, the co-op suffered extensive outages after a snowstorm knocked trees down on power lines.

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