Following the out of the ordinary freezing weather we experienced last week, Lyntegar, the provider for rural electricity in our area, has issued a statement about concerns over electric bills to come.
The statement reads, “Golden Spread Electric Cooperative, our wholesale power provider, incurred high energy prices during winter storm Uri last week. While we are continuing to tally the expense and seeking all avenues of reimbursement, it is expected that our expenses will exceed the total power costs Golden Spread incurred last year.
“Golden Spread’s Board of Directors will decide how to spread these costs over time to ease the burden on you, the Member. In the meantime, the Board of Directors has frozen the energy rates Golden Spread will charge for the month of February. This means that your rates from us, your local cooperative, will not yet reflect the cost of the storm.
“If you have questions or concerns about your current electric bill, please call our office during normal business hours.
“Thank you for your patience and understanding.”
Patience and understanding for a resident out in the county is one thing, but to area producers who are walking such a tight margin, the potential for an increase in electric prices is a big issue. Electricity powers wells and systems for most farmers. If we have a dry year, electric costs are already huge on the farm, and a major portion of their input costs for the year.
Local producer Mason Becker stated, “Without a doubt it will have an impact on farms that are irrigated. The vast majority of irrigation pumps and pivots now operate on electricity. During the summer, we are irrigating around the clock, particularly when we are not receiving rainfall. Depending on multiple factors, it can cost $7 – $9 per acre inch to water a circle. That means that if I am trying to put out an inch on 120 acre circle, it will cost #800 to $1000 every week to ten days. So, obviously, with increasing electric cost, those numbers go up and come off the crops’ bottom line.”
Kirk Martin stated, “I guess there is nothing we can do to control electric prices. So I guess we will just have to see what happens and go from there. As a manager, we will just have to keep that in our minds as we go in to budgeting our crop year. Once again, we will have to cinch our belts down and make it through.”
Clearly, not a good situation. The cost of this winter storm could be factored in for months to come.
Lyntegar, which is member owned, has a board of directors familiar with farming and the fine line between profit and loss these guys walk. They will do their best to keep prices as low as possible. Still ,the difference in the cost from Golden Spread must be made up.
We all saw how hard these guys worked to keep power going in our rural communities and they certainly deserve our gratitude.