January 2017

A knife is a very simple tool. It’s just a blade and a handle. Despite that simplicity, a knife has incredible versatility, from peeling an apple or cutting a steak to carving wood or removing a splinter. A knife’s usefulness depends largely on your needs.

A cooperative is a very simple concept. It’s just a group of people working together for mutual benefit. Despite that simplicity, a cooperative is incredibly versatile and powerful, from processing and marketing cranberries or milk to providing trustworthy childcare or banking services.

Your electric cooperative, Wells Rural Electric Company (WREC), is like the Swiss Army knife of cooperatives. WREC does as many things as that iconic red knife and, like the tweezers hidden in a notch in the case, you might not be aware of all of its functions.

Wholesale Power Purchases – To meet your need for electricity, WREC purchases electricity from Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and from the wholesale power markets. WREC uses its membership in another cooperative, Northwest Energy Management Services, to leverage the buying power of other cooperatives across the Pacific Northwest to secure the best pricing.

Aggregation – Wholesale power markets sell in large quantities called megaWatts (mW). According to the Energy Information Administration, one mW is enough electricity to power about 680 homes. WREC forecasts the amount of electricity we expect all of our members to use and makes that purchase. Contracts are in place to purchase electricity on your behalf until 2028. Like buying products in bulk, buying electricity for all of our members as a group allows WREC to secure better pricing for individual members than they probably could negotiate on their own.

Transmission – Preparing a forecast and buying wholesale power is only a small piece of the puzzle. Only a small fraction of the electricity we consume is produced within our service territory. The rest must be delivered over hundreds of miles of transmission line owned by other companies like BPA, Idaho Power and NV Energy. Long standing contracts are in place to ensure reliable delivery of wholesale electricity.

Distribution – Wholesale electricity is delivered to WREC at 138,000 volts. WREC’s substations convert 138,000 volts to 24,900 volts and our distribution power lines deliver it to your neighborhood, where transformers convert 24,900 volts to 240 volts for most homes and 480 volts for most businesses.

Reliability – The complex network that delivers electricity to you needs periodic upgrades or replacement, routine maintenance and occasional repairs. We are proud to report a 99.994% reliability rating.

WREC also provides energy efficiency programs and rebates, electrician services, automated account management, economic development, sponsorships for community organizations and programs for low ­income members. We are always looking for opportunities to serve you better and provide greater value for your energy dollar.

Clay R. Fitch
Chief Executive Officer