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Year-Long Decrease in Electricity Bills for BREMCO (15%) and NRL&P (8%) Customers

By Jesse Wood

Usually when utility companies place a required ad in the newspaper, they are alerting the public of a requested rate increase coming before the N.C. Utilities Commission.

But in the most recent such ad, New River Light & Power announced that it was seeking approval from the commission to decrease the cost of electricity for its customers. The N.C. Utilities Commission approved the decrease without holding a public hearing.

In a Jan. 25 letter to customers, New River Light & Power announced that residential customers consuming 1,000 kWh every month would see a rate reduction of $7.82 cents per month (or 8.1 percent) for the entirety of 2016.

“Although electricity costs have continued to rise in parts of the country in recent years, changes in the fuel cost to generate electricity have resulted in decreased charges to NRLP customers,” the letter stated.

New River Light & Power stated that the cost decrease is “due solely” to a decrease in wholesale costs that the company pays to Blue Ridge Electricity Membership Corporation (BREMCO).

On Monday, BREMCO also announced that customers would see “a full-year of temporary rate reduction” because of lower wholesale costs associated with lower natural gas prices.

BREMCO residential members are expected to see their bills reduced by 15 percent – or 18 dollars for each 1,000 kWh of electricity used each month, which is what the average household uses monthly.

In a press release, BREMCO called the rate reduction “historic.”

“The rate reduction first began in December and the cooperative’s board of directors approved staff recommendations for the full year reduction at their latest Board meeting. It is the first time a temporary rate reduction has been possible for an entire year,” BREMCO announced.

Duke Energy Carolinas is BREMCO’s wholesale power provider, and BREMCO also attributed lower costs due to “an over-supply” of natural gas produced domestically.