YVEA keeps rates the same for next year

Electric utility plans to absorb cost increases for 2009

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View Yampa Valley Electric Association rates at www.yvea.com.>

— Yampa Valley Electric Association won't increase rates next year, utility officials said.

"In 2008, the Yampa Valley Electric Board voted to absorb a $1.28 million rate increase from the association's power provider - Xcel Energy," Larry Covillo, YVEA president and general manager, said in a news release. "To assist our member consumers in this unsettled economic environment, the association projects that no increase in rates will be required next year."

For example, the group will keep residential rates at $12.50 a month and nearly 8 cents per kilowatt-hour.

"We are, I guess, what you would call very frugal around here," Covillo said in an interview. "We watch our expenses, and we look at things, and we think - especially with the times the way they are and the economy not doing as well as anybody would like, we will do the best we can and continue to absorb the rate increases the best we can."

The YVEA board also approved the 2009 construction and operating budget, which projects the association will invest $5.8 million in plant additions and replacements, bringing the total utility plant value to $112 million by the end of 2009, the release stated.

"That's our estimate of what we have," Covillo said. "In that $5.8 million, there is money for construction of customer line service, and : part of that is what we expect to do for what we call system improvements and betterments - replacing equipment and upgrading equipment, meeting the growing load and those types of things."

The association expects a below-normal construction season and projects a modest growth of 1.2 percent, or 357 new consumers, the release stated.

That would bring the peak number of consumers served to 26,561.

Covillo said the decision not to increase rates wouldn't harm YVEA's operations for those customers.

"What we're estimating is, we'll have a good year next year, so we think we can do that without affecting any of our service," he said.

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