Photo by David Rauzi
Free Press / David Rauzi
ICLP co-op members visit during the 2017 members meeting at the Grangeville Elks Lodge.
As of Tuesday, November 7, 2017
GRANGEVILLE “We did have a very good year, a safe year,” said Max Beach, manager for Idaho County Light and Power Cooperative, addressing the 140 registered members in attendance at the 79th annual membership meeting last Thursday, Nov. 2. Notable usage due to a cold winter and good margins were reported, assisted by cooperative efforts to improve efficiency and customer service.
A top meeting agenda item is the 3.4 percent rate increase that goes into effect Jan. 1. This is due to an increase in wholesale power rates by Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), which is raising its rate about 5.1 percent. Beach explained those changes result from many things, including fish and wildlife costs – such as the Snake River dams and political struggles concerning hydroelectric power – and infrastructure needs.
“Rates are something we take very seriously,” he said, “and we try to keep them as low as possible.” Helping keep that increase low was work on refinancing the co-op’s loans, which he said were kept below 4 percent, and in various cost-saving measures throughout operations. “Everybody with the co-op has been working on this,” Beach said.
“This is the smallest rate increase that we have ever passed along,” said ICLP Board President John Solberg. But due to efficiencies worked on by the co-op, “we have been able to absorb a lot of the cost and not pass it on to you, our members.”
Breaking down the impact of this increase, Solberg explained that, for example, average residential members who use between 1,000 and 1,500 kilowatt-hours will see a difference of about $2.50 per month on their bills.
Overall, it was a good year for both the co-op and its subsidiary, Idaho County Propane (ICP), the last of which celebrated its 20th year in business. Secretary/treasurer Cliff Tacke reported ICLP’s and ICP’s total net value increased almost $425,000 to more than $17.4 million for the previous year. Members’ equity grew to more than $11.25 million. Outstanding debt, accounts payable and other liabilities make up the remaining $6.1 million, he says.
Tacke informed members operating revenues were up 3.4 percent — more than $254,000 — from the previous year.
“Most of that stemmed from a colder November and December, which helped power and propane sales,” he said, and that the cost of power and propane remained about the same; up just $9,220 from 2015 to 2016. This was due to a leveling out in the cost of propane, and that total kilowatt hours sold went up slightly.
Kim Dahler, vice president and ICLP representative to the ICP board, reported the subsidiary enjoyed an exceptional year.
“We saw nearly $500,000 in increased sales and about 200,000 more gallons of propane sold than in fiscal year 2016,” he said. “In total, nearly 1.6 million gallons of propane were sold.”
The fiscal year, which ended June 30, noted two decades in business for ICP, marked by growth through word-of-mouth comments from members and its customers, and efforts “to keep competitive rates and great customer service,” Dahler said.
An extended story on the ICLP meeting will be in the December issue of Ruralite magazine.