When you hear the word “infrastructure”, you might think of roads, water lines, or even buildings. Regardless of the industry, including your electric cooperative, infrastructure is essential.
Did you realize part of your monthly electric bill is all about infrastructure, too? When you look at your bill, the first line item is a “facilities charge.” The name can be a little confusing because most people think of facilities as roads or buildings. To an electric power co-op like Kankakee Valley REMC, “facilities” refers to everything needed to bring electricity from the power grid to your home or business. That’s everything from the wires, power poles, and substations, to the controls keeping the flow of electricity safe and reliable, to our fleet of service trucks and the administration of the co-op.
The co-op's power costs go up and down depending on the amount of electricity our member-consumers use. The facilities charge is a flat amount, no matter how much or how little electricity is used. That’s because we have to maintain and operate that system 365 days a year. Even if you generate part of your electricity through a solar array or wind turbine, your home is connected to our system, and we have to keep those connections operating safely.
While our costs of doing business have increased over the years, the last time we adjusted the facilities charge was in 2009. Unlike for-profit utilities, your REMC is a not-for-profit cooperative, so we don’t want to charge more than we need to cover our costs. Having a facilities charge gives us a predictable source of funds to cover our overhead — all the costs that keep your electricity available when you need it.
Over the next few months, we’ll give you more insight into the many ways Kankakee Valley REMC works to keep your electricity affordable.