Manager’s Message — January 2022

We Strive to Keep Rates Affordable

Dear Members,

Libby Calnon headshotFrom time to time, members ask if the cooperative offers rebates for installation of new photovoltaic systems. We’ve chosen to not offer solar rebates. Instead, we focus on keeping rates as affordable as possible for all members as we continue to deliver clean, reliable, and renewable energy to all members.

For comparison’s sake, Hood River Co-op charges residential members 7.05 cents a kilowatt-hour for electricity. PGE charges about 13.8 cents, and Pacific Power charges about 10 cents. Our lower rates bring savings that benefit all members, every month.

Another favorable comparison is our fuel mix. The energy we deliver to members is about 85% renewable and 95% carbon-free, thanks to Bonneville Power Administration and the clean, renewable energy it sells us from the federal Columbia River hydropower system.

Other utilities rely on significant amounts of coal and natural gas generation. For example, Pacific Power’s basic fuel mix for 2020 was about 50% coal. For utilities with large percentages of coal generation, it makes sense to offer rebates to offset those energy purchases with carbon-free resources such as hydro, wind, nuclear or solar. For utilities such as HR Co-op, which already delivers clean, carbon-free energy, it makes less sense to ask members to pay more when our energy is already clean and renewable.

It can be tempting to look at what other utilities offer and wish the co-op would offer a solar rebate, too. Please remember that with this decision, we keep rates affordable for everyone. The solar rebates offered by other utilities are paid for by their customers through higher electric rates.

While we don’t offer rebates for solar installations, we do welcome members who wish to add solar at their homes or businesses to do so. Details about our interconnection options can be found on our website on our Solar page.

HR Co-op does offer energy-efficiency rebates funded through BPA’s energy-efficiency program. The Northwest Power Act of 1980 called upon BPA to collect a small amount of money through its wholesale power rates to meet regional energy-efficiency targets. BPA returns these funds to consumers by reimbursing the co-op for the rebates we pay you for making energy-efficiency upgrades.

All these years later, energy efficiency remains BPA’s biggest resource addition, helping to meet the needs of our region. You can learn about our energy-efficiency rebates on our Rebates page.

Libby Calnon
General Manager