Idle / Seasonal Electric Services to Help Active Accounts with Grid Maintenance Costs
The electric distribution grid that serves the members of San Miguel Power Association (SMPA) is an engineering marvel that enables members to enjoy a modern lifestyle amid a rugged and beautiful landscape. Maintaining this complicated system in an environment that consistently batters it with harsh weather, rockfall and treefall events, as well as wildlife and human-caused impacts, is an expensive endeavor.
These maintenance expenses are shared by all members who pay a fixed access fee on their monthly bill along with whatever charges they have collected from energy they’ve used the previous month. There are, however, some who derive benefit from the grid, without paying their part of these maintenance costs. Recently defined “Idle” and “Seasonal” accounts can turn off their power and stop paying bills only to return to a well-maintained grid, at a later time, and start up again. The costs of grid upkeep, during their absence, is split among the remaining active members.
In an effort to ensure equitable cost recovery, SMPA reached out to members and holders of idle accounts, defined as any service that has been inactivated or disconnected for a period of at least 90 days, and to holders of seasonal accounts, defined as any service that is routinely disconnected and reconnected within a 12-month period. These account-holders were informed of SMPA’s proposed revisions to its General Rules and Regulations.
The operative revisions require that at the time of shutoff, these account-holders can opt to continue to pay the monthly access fee to help fund maintenance of the system and their service, or they can retire the service. This latter option would give SMPA the ability to remove power delivery equipment, thus reducing maintenance costs and liabilities.
At their March meeting (3-28-23), the SMPA Board of Directors will consider adding the new language to the General Rules and Regulations. Members interested in learning more can find more information here.