The availability charge is a monthly charge that HOTEC members pay to help cover the basic cost of bringing electricity to their location. It covers some of the expenses the cooperative incurs regardless of how much electricity is sold. The charge helps cover such things as:
- Trucks, wire, transformers and power poles needed to build and maintain the electric distribution system.
- Labor to build and maintain the lines.
- Cost of insurance, interest, and taxes.
Because all cooperative members benefit from having reliable electric service available when they need it, the availability charge allows everyone to pay a share of the basic costs.
Members sometimes ask why HOTEC's availability charge is higher than neighboring electric utilities. It's because of our low consumer density; HOTEC serves an average of six customers per mile of line. Compare this to a city where the average density is easily more than 30 customers per mile of line. It is always more economical to serve areas of higher density. However, HOTEC's average rates remain competitive with those neighboring utilities.
HOTEC serves a diverse membership. Some of our members use a lot of electricity all year long, and some may use electricity only one or two months per year. Whether you use a lot or a little, the cost of getting electric power to your location remains the same. And that is why your electric bill has two separate charges: the availability charge to cover basic costs, and the per kWh charge for the actual amount of electricity consumed.
We hope this brief explanation helps answer your questions about the availability charge portion of your electric bill. Please call us if you have any billing questions.