HIGHLANDVILLE, Mo. -- Utility customer/members of the White River Valley Electric Cooperative are noticing prices get steeper to keep the air conditioner blowing this summer.
White River Valley Electric Cooperative covers parts of five Ozarks counties.
Rates went up nine percent in March. The minimum bill went up to $28 from $25. The minimum also does not include 20 kilowatthours of electricity than it used to include.
Those 20 kWh of power would cost less than $2 under current pricing.
"We feel these rate increases are a direct effect of environmental regulation," says Chris Hamon, CEO of White River Valley Electric.
Hamon says power suppliers have passed along four rate increases to the co-op in the last five years.
"They're going up. I noticed that earlier in the year," says Ray Slentz, who lives in Highlandville.
The co-op estimates the average customer will notice a $10 increase each month.
"I, just kind of like anybody else, I pay [my utility bill] and go on a lot of times. I mean, what can we do? We've got to have electricity," Slentz says.
Slentz not only has his home, he also has an auction house. The extra building means Slentz has three meters. Each meter is subject to a minimum bill.
Hamon says the increase in the starting cost is to more closely mirror the actual cost of bringing power to someone's home, simply giving someone the ability to have the lights come on if they choose to use them.
"From generating plants, to putting our poles up, and maintaining it [can] be part of that minimum bill," Hamon says.
Here are how the rates at the cooperative compare to Missouri as a whole: