NRECA/CFC Publish New Rate Guides

Rates adjustments at your co-op are important. Communicating them to members might be even more important.

The growing use of solar energy, such as this installation at Eau Claire Energy Co-op, has prompted co-ops to reconsider traditional rate designs. (Photo By: ECEC)

The growing use of solar energy, such as this installation at Eau Claire Energy Co-op, has prompted co-ops to reconsider traditional rate designs. (Photo By: ECEC)

That's why NRECA and the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation have published Introducing a Rate Change to Consumer-Members.

In straightforward language, the 15-page guide, based on real-world experiences of veteran co-op communicators, explains how to plan and carry out a successful communications campaign for rate adjustments.

"With the right dose of energy, enthusiasm and dedication, a successful campaign can even boost a cooperative's customer satisfaction scores," the guide said.

If you "put the cooperative principles front and center," while incorporating other communications techniques, your co-op could even win points with members, the guide said.

The guide lays out a step-by-step strategy to roll out a new rate structure:

  • Involve communicators early in the process.
  • Train directors and employees to serve as "ambassadors" to explain the new rate.
  • Listen to members and keep messages simple.
  • Use every communications channel available.
  • Educate members on managing energy costs.

The publication is a supplement to Retail Rate Guide, also published by NRECA and CFC. The 94-page guide provides a deeper dive into the rate redesign process with rate options and considerations.

While industry changes and new technologies are driving the need to re-examine traditional rate structures, "the board and management should be clear as to the reasons for the rate analysis," the guide said.

The guide explains the importance of involving co-op directors in the rate analysis process; defining the need for a rate change; developing rate options; considering other factors in evaluating rate options; and presenting and implementing proposed rates.

For more information on "Introducing a Rate Change to Consumer-Members," contact NRECA's Tracy Warren at tracy.warren@nreca.coop or 703-907-5859.

For more information on "Retail Rate Guide" contact NRECA's Jan Ahlen at jan.ahlen@nreca.coop or 703-907-5859.

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