Businesses and individuals alike have struggled to keep up with their bills as the effects of the national shutdown caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic are felt. People have lost jobs, some businesses have closed. Economic growth has dropped.
All of that is affecting Colorado’s electric cooperatives and their bottom line.
Many co-ops contributed to local charities to assist their consumer-members during this time. And they have worked with their consumer-members who are having trouble paying their bills due to the pandemic. That means less cash flow for the electric co-op.
Nationally, the country’s electric co-ops are projected to lose up to $10 billion in revenue through the end of next year. This loss of revenue is because of an expected 5% drop in electricity sales due to lower U.S. economic output and an increase in unpaid electric bills due to unemployment.
Electric co-ops are working together to meet this challenge, working with their national trade association to establish possible safety nets for rural communities and their co-ops. They are taking steps to prevent any significant disruptions in service to their local communities. At the same time, they are working with federal assistance programs such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to assist their consumer-members as they also face a loss of income.