Nov. 2016 Member Advisory Committee (MAC) post: The Benefits of Growth

In a recent post, we discussed that for the third straight year, Wake Electric was the fastest growing of the 26 electric cooperatives in North Carolina. Founded 75 years ago as a primarily rural electric cooperative to provide electricity in the parts of seven counties where there was none, Wake Electric still serves the same area it always has. Much of the new growth is due to the expansion of Raleigh and its suburbs. It is also focused near previously small towns like Wake Forest, Rolesville and Knightdale. As the cities and towns have expanded geographically, now more than 12,500 (more than 30%) of Wake Electric’s members live inside the city or town limits.

Members sometimes ask, “Is growth a good thing?”. The answer for Wake Electric is definitely YES.

Looking back over the period from 2005 to 2015, Wake Electric has added more than 11,400 meters, a 40% increase. Electricity sales (measured in kWh) increased by 36%. During the same period of rapid growth, Wake Electric’s distribution costs increased by only 25%, primarily the fixed costs of system expansion such as depreciation and interest expense.

Any business that can rapidly grow its customer base and also control costs to a much lower percentage increase will do well in an expanding market.

If the past is an indicator of the future, we will have the opportunity to keep growing. The test for Wake Electric will be our ability to continue to control costs.

Questions about benefits of growth or any other topic? Please let us know at MAC@wemc.com.