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POWER COMPANY ASKED TO REDUCE RATES

By Valliant Corley

Pilot staff writer

PORT ORFORD – One of the three newly elected members of the Coos-Curry Electric Cooperative board kept insisting Friday that the co-op immediately give a rate reduction to its members. That came following a presentation that showed the co-op currently with $1 million more than budgeted for this year.

"We're doing good right now, so let's give some back," said John G. Herzog, who represents the Brookings-Harbor area on the board.

"This is one of the good years. We've had some not so good," Chief Financial Officer Doyle F. Eden said after giving the monthly financial presentation.

"After seeing our financials, we had issues with our rates and stuff," Herzog said. "I think we should address this today."

Chairman Daryl Robison, also a new board member, had earlier said that the board would be in a position by its November meeting to know if the money is there to reduce rates.

"There's also a discussion of giving free kilowatt hours (to members) instead of reducing rates," Robison said.

Board Vice President Grant Combs, of Myrtle Point, said the board should first do better research on the effect a rate cut would have.

"Will we do it in the budget for next year or do it for the rest of the year," Combs said.

"We've been saying we're going to do it," Herzog said.

"It has to be an orderly process where we take in all the factors," said Board Treasurer David G. Itzen, who also represents the Brookings-Harbor area.

"I'm tired of orderly," Herzog replied.

He was asked what if costs go back up for the next year.

"We can give it back and take it back later," Herzog said.

"We have to wait and see," Itzen said.

General Manager Werner Buehler said the staff is working on a budget to give a rate reduction.

"We're heading toward that policy," Buehler said. "I support that 100 percent, but I won't support that without an orderly process. I don't want to go back next year and say we have to raise them."

Buehler said the co-op's staff would make a presentation by the November meeting when the budget is discussed.

"It's not going to happen under my watch until we know the whole effect," Buehler said.

"We're going to make a decision," said Gary Schlottman of Gold Beach, another of the new board members.

"I know it's really frustrating," Itzen said. "We're working toward what we are going to do."

"I don't want Werner (Buehler) to think he's got all that money to spend," Herzog said. "He's good at that. Look at all those (new) trucks out there," Herzog said pointing out the window.

Herzog, a UPS driver, said the cuts should be made now.

"If it's in the truck, you deliver it that day," he said.

"I'm putting on my black hat," Herzog said. "It's black hat day."

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