If you received electricity from SCEC anytime between 2013 and 2018 and currently have an active account with us, you’ll see your portion of a $600,000 settlement from the U.S. Department of Energy reflected as a credit on your bill dated Oct. 3, 2022!
The Energy Charge per kWh paid by SCEC members in those years included fees associated with storage and security of spent nuclear fuel. The credit will be in proportion to the amount you paid for electricity during that time.
The settlement returns expenses incurred by Dairyland Power Cooperative (DPC) members to secure and store spent nuclear fuel from DPC’s shut-down La Crosse Boiling Water Reactor (LACBWR) nuclear facility. DPC is the wholesale power provider for SCEC, one of 24 distribution cooperatives who are member-owners. The Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA) of 1982 required the government to properly dispose of spent nuclear fuel no later than Jan. 31, 1998. To this day, no permanent storage site exists.
This is the third lawsuit initiated by DPC because of the failure by the federal government to provide a long-term storage facility for spent nuclear fuel. In 2013, $590,000 was returned to SCEC members from DPC’s first lawsuit against the government for the cost of storing the fuel from 1999-2006. In 2017, $2.1 million was returned to SCEC members from the second lawsuit covering 2007-12, when DPC moved the spent fuel out of LACBWR’s on-site storage pool to off-site dry cask storage so the process of decommissioning the pool could begin.
Suing the federal government was not the route DPC wanted to take. However, by not meeting the terms of the NWPA, DPC’s members – and their electric cooperatives’ members – have been burdened with the cost to secure and store the spent nuclear fuel.
The settlement was distributed from DPC to its members: Each cooperative could then choose how to utilize the money. SCEC’s Board of Directors elected to return the entire $600,000 to the members who paid for the storage. Former members from those years will have their NWPA credit added to their capital credit allocation for those years.
Consistent with their previous decisions, SCEC’s Board has decided to return the members’ money to the members who paid the added costs. This is consistent with running a not-for-profit cooperative, and also adheres to the use of cost causation principles.
And the news gets even better: At this month’s Board meeting the SCEC Board will retire capital credits allocated in 2002 and a portion of those allocated in 2019. THOSE credits will appear on bills dated Nov. 1, 2022. You can read the details in next month’s newsletter, but here’s a brief explanation of Capital Credits:
When you sign up to receive electric service from SCEC you become a member of our electric cooperative. While investor-owned utilities return a portion of any profits back to their shareholders, electric co-ops operate to provide a service at cost. So, instead of returning excess funds, known as margins, to investors who might not live in the same region or even the same state as you do, as a cooperative, SCEC allocates and annually refunds (retires) CAPITAL CREDITS based on your usage during a year. It is a cooperative’s way or returning part of your investment in us.
And THAT’S just part of the Cooperative Difference.