A big part of managing our electric cooperative, from both my perspective and that of our board of directors, is keeping costs as low as possible. It’s a fundamental part of how we do business as a not-for-profit utility owned by our members. We don’t answer to investors and we’re not motivated to sell any more electricity than what you need. Our priority is to serve you to the best of our abilities with safe, reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible power.

Through proper maintenance of our system and stable power costs, JOEMC is able to keep rates low. Over the long term, that shouldn’t change. But there are industry factors that will increase our cost of doing business in the near term. Some of these may impact rates, some may not, but I do want to share them as they are a part of how your electric cooperative operates.

For one, new technology has opened up options for how we manage the system that delivers power to your home. By putting this technology to work for us, we’ll open up opportunities to operate more securely, more reliably and more efficiently in the future. New software and hardware upgrades will harden our system against cyber threats, which target electric utilities no matter the size. New system control components will allow us to better integrate distributed generation, such as solar panels and generators at homes and businesses in our community. This will ensure new resources can be connected to the grid while maintaining high standards of reliability. By investing in these system enhancements now, we’re paving the way for cost savings down the line – similar to the way energy efficiency improvements in your home pay for themselves over time.

Second, our cost of power – which makes up the majority of your bill each month – is being affected by recent state law and federal regulations. JOEMC and our wholesale power provider,

NCEMC, do not own any coal plants. However, the cost of power we purchase from Duke Energy is increasing beginning in 2018, as Duke Energy works to comply with state law and federal regulations related to coal ash management.

We will continue to do whatever we can to mitigate rising costs because we know these costs ultimately have an impact on your family budget. Should industry factors affect rates, we will let you know well ahead of time, and we will continue to pursue new technologies to build a stronger, more efficient electric distribution system to better serve you now, and into the future.

Visit our website or call our office at (910) 353-1940 or (800) 682-1515 to learn about programs and solutions that put you in control of your home energy use and budget.