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Beartooth electric rates to go down in July

May 1, 2017

Contact: Jim Webb, General Manager, Beartooth Electric Cooperative, 307-885-3175;

Red Lodge, MT – At their April meeting, the trustees of Beartooth Electric Cooperative adopted a financial strategy that includes a five percent revenue reduction applied entirely to energy charges. Effective July 1, co-op members will see a reduction in their electric bills.

The board also approved a plan to divide the overall five percent rate reduction among the rate-payers. The rate recommendations were based on an updated Cost of Services Analysis. Beartooth General Manager Jim Webb explained that the goal is to have power users cover the cost of their service as closely as possible, without under- or overpaying. Seasonal use and other factors are also considered.

The following reductions in the cost of electricity to members will be effective July 1, 2017.

  • 5% decrease for Residential, Large Commercial and Industrial users
  • 6.5% decrease for Small Commercial Class
  • 2.5% decrease for Irrigation Class

About 80 percent of the co-op’s power use is residential. The trustees have discussed a plan to review and possibly redesign the co-op’s rate structure and ratepayer classes in two years, after the installation of new meters. Borrowing $1.9 million to replace all meters in 2018 and 2019 is another element of the financial plan agreed on at the April 25th meeting. Consumption data from the new meters will help inform the rate design.

“The next step for the board is to get more educated about rate design in a world with increasing renewables. Other co-ops are finding ways to keep charges equitable and make sure that distribution costs are covered,” said Arleen Boyd, vice president of the Beartooth board and chair of the co-op’s risk management committee.

This five percent rate decrease will bring the total rate reductions to 25 percent over the last two years. Rates went down five percent in August 2015, ten percent in March 2016, and five percent in August 2016.

The seven-year forecast model chosen to guide the co-op’s financial direction shows consistent capital credit payouts (five percent per year or 20-year rotation) and no need for rate increases throughout the forecast period. More information about the rural co-op’s newly adopted seven-year plan and financial forecast is available at


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