| Mike Peters, President and CEO
During the WPPI Energy membership's recent Annual Meeting, Board Chair Jeff Feldt and I reported on the state of our joint action agency. Those remarks are summarized below.
The state of WPPI Energy is strong. Together, our 51 member-owner utilities have a reliable, affordable power supply, best-in-class programs and services, and an effective voice to advocate for local customers and the community.
We’re not stopping here. In each of these areas, we are forging ahead and accomplishing new, forward-looking business priorities directed by our members. In one of our most notable developments, this summer we cut the ribbon for our 53-turbine Bishop Hill III Wind Energy center. Like our other new resources, Bishop Hill III adds diversity to our portfolio, reduces our carbon dioxide emissions, and—most importantly—reduces our long-term costs.
When it comes to costs, stability and competitiveness are always our focus. We’ve held average wholesale power costs steady over the past five years, and we expect our costs to be slightly lower over the five years to come. We remain highly competitive among wholesale electric suppliers in the state and continue to make solid gains in this area.
Our financial health is strong as well. We are reducing debt and maintaining our strong credit ratings. In April, we refinanced $47 million of our 2008A bonds for a savings of $6.5 million, which we pass directly to members. In July, we paid off another $15.2 million in 2008A bonds early, delivering additional rate reductions to members now through 2020.
Competitive costs aren’t our only priority. We also provide cost-effective support to help members deliver the modern, updated services, rates, technologies and online communications that customers increasingly expect, and we actively engage with policymakers to ensure the laws and regulations they put in place take into account your local needs and priorities.
These accomplishments demonstrate the benefit of 51 like-minded communities working for a common purpose. WPPI Energy members are strong because we stand together as a unified membership.
Together, we are ready to serve and succeed as utilities of the future.