HEA rates to increase Jan. 1

The cooperative’s last rate increase took effect in April 2020

Homer Electric Association announced Friday evening that it will be raising its base rates by 3.5% starting next year, citing inflation and supply chain disruptions.

Starting Jan. 1, 2024, HEA’s base rate will increase for residential members, from $0.16077 per kWh to $0.16640 per kWh, or by about $0.00563 per kWh. That’s after the Regulatory Commission of Alaska on Friday approved HEA’s Simplified Rate Filing, in which HEA requested a 3.5% increase to the base rate.

HEA said in Friday’s press release that the cooperative’s last rate increase took effect in April 2020. In announcing the increase, HEA said significant inflation since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain issues have driven their prices up by about 19%. The rate increase, HEA said, will help it keep pace with the rate of inflation.

HEA General Manager Brad Janorschke is quoted as saying in the release that “aggressive cost cutting and operational efficiencies” have allowed the cooperative to keep their base rate below the rate of inflation.

Friday’s announcement comes as HEA and other electric utilities along the Alaska Railbelt grapple with a looming shortage of natural gas in Cook Inlet, which they’ve warned could increase rates for ratepayers.

HEA Director of Member Relations Keriann Baker said Friday, though, that the cooperative’s base rate is unrelated to natural gas or fuel costs, but rather covers the cost of labor, materials and supplies.

More information about Homer Electric Association can be found at homerelectric.org.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.