Greetings! As noted last month, the end of the fiscal year triggers the start of the annual audit process. Staff from our audit firm, Friend & Reagan PC, have been onsite to examine the accounting records and transactions for 2016.

Their work will culminate in publication of year-end financial statements and their audit report. The reports for Hood River Electric Cooperative and CACHE will be presented to your board of directors at its February meetings.

A review of the annual financial reports will be conducted by Friend & Reagan at the annual membership meetings in March. Once the financial outcome of 2016 is known, I will finalize projections for the coming year.

In my messages the past year, I noted my belief that an adjustment to our retail electric rates would be prudent sometime during 2017. The biggest driver for the retail rate adjustment is an increase in Bonneville Power Administration transmission service and wholesale power costs, although the cooperative’s internal costs also are rising. There was an increase in BPA-related costs in October 2015.

Another is expected in October 2017. The last HREC retail rate increase was April 2014. After deliberation at their January meeting, HREC directors approved my proposal to increase revenue from energy sales by about 9 percent. New retail rates will be effective with bills rendered on or after April 1, 2017.

See below for details about rate changes for various customer types.

Your board of directors established dates for the annual membership meetings of CACHE and HREC at its regular meeting in January. These meetings are March 14 and March 15, respectively, so make a note in your calendar. You will receive formal notification by mail of the date, time and location for each meeting well in advance.

Co-op directors and staff aim to be good stewards of your cooperative by ensuring the business is financially strong and the infrastructure well maintained and efficient.

Be assured that any rate increases that may be implemented are thoroughly examined and deemed appropriate by your board of directors.

Thank you for the opportunity to be of service this past year. We look forward to serving you in 2017 and beyond.

John Gerstenberger, Manager