For the second year in a row, Electrical District 3 customers will see a decrease in their utility rates.
Officials announced Tuesday that the ED3 Board of Directors had approved its 2017 budget, which resulted in electric rates going down an average of 3.16 percent for residential, commercial, small industrial, large industrial and agricultural customers.
This is good news for local citizens, especially those who saw a 5.16 percent decrease in their electric rates from 2015 to 2016.
The new rates will go into effect Jan. 1.
“We’ve been working very hard on updating a lot of our power facilities and we’re able to reduce our losses on the system,” ED3 General Manager and CEO Bill Stacy said. “At the same time, some of our new power contracts are tied to natural gas prices, which help us because the natural gas price has been lower.”
ED3 became a member of the Southwest Public Power Agency, a joint action agency, which allows the district to buy and sell power easier, thus saving money.
Add in the newly signed Hoover Dam power contract, and the savings should continue to benefit ED3 and the majority of its customer base.
This is during a time when other utilities and businesses in Arizona and across the nation continue to raise their rates, according to Stacy.
“Before last year’s decrease, we hadn’t raised rates since 2008,” Stacy said. “We kept them flat for a number of years but with the projects we’re working on, we’ve been able to lower them two years in a row now.”
Stacy did not want to speculate on the future but did say that things look stable in the company’s five-year outlook, which was more than satisfying for ED3 executives and its board.
ED3 says its rates are lower than those of Arizona Public Service Co. On average, ED3’s standard residential rates are 8.8 percent lower than APS’s and could be lower depending on the electrical usage.
ED3 began operation in 1926 to provide area farmers with electricity to irrigate their crops. It is a nonprofit utility service company currently serving an area of approximately 245,500 acres around Maricopa and Stanfield, including the city of Maricopa.
The district operates 11 distribution level substations, approximately 1,004 miles of 12-kilovolt lines (604 miles of overhead and 400 miles of underground) and 73 miles of 69-kV lines. The district currently serves more than 24,000 residential, commercial and irrigation meter connections.