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MVP’s presentation to Tribal Council includes info about possible rate hike

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LAKE COUNTY — Mission Valley Power gave an annual report to Tribal Council that week that included information about a possible rate hike that would help the power company manage rising costs of materials needed to help keep the lights on for the Flathead Reservation. 

According to General Manager Jean Matt the rate hike would occur in tiers. 

“We’ve found that our costs have increased exponentially,” Matt said. “Looking at a snapshot of it, looking at material last year, in some places it quadrupled.” 

Delivery times on some equipment the company needs have increased from 1 year to 2 years, so the company has gone from reactive to proactive in buying equipment and materials and trying to keep a stocked yard of material ready to go. 

As prices have increased and wait times for delivery of equipment have also increased, more and more people are using Mission Valley Power’s services. 

“We hit a 10-year high last year with 327 new services in our area,” Matt said. 

Matt explained under the new proposed plan, the company would charge 0.0605 per kWh for usage from 0 to 1,000 kWh. Tier 2 would be 0.0689 per kWh for usage from 1,001 to 2,000 kWh. Tier 3 would be 0.0880 per kWh for usage from 2,001 and above kWh. 

There would also be an increase in the basic service fee to $17 per month for Fiscal Year 2022 and Fiscal Year 2023, according to the tribe’s newspaper, the Char-Koostah. Currently the charge is $15 per month. 

“We are seeing more folks in our area that are staying for the winter season,” Matt said. “So, we are looking to capture some of that. Increasing our basic allows us to make it more predictable. Right now, our revenues are contingent based on weather, and so far, we’re not very good at predicting weather.” 

The tribe has held community meetings on the rate increases, and Matt said his next presentation to the Tribal Council would be on the proposed rate increase.

One other highlight of Matt’s presentation to the council was that Mission Valley Power did hold $4.5 million in reserves in case of emergencies. 

“That is held locally here in case of emergencies, that would be ice storms, catastrophic outages, that we could not only utilize a contractor, but we could also pay our folks overtime. $4.5 million is a small drop in the bucket. It also depends on the size of the storm.”

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