The Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) plans to use its growing membership base as a tool to negotiate lower electric rates for its members.
The plan, which could reduce electricity costs for some Texas campground owners by as much as 25%, was outlined during the 2002 TACO Spring Meeting and Trade Show, April 28-May 1, which attracted more than 200 Texas campground owners, managers, and industry representatives.
The meeting took place at Haven’s Landing RV Resort near Lake Conroe, Texas, about 60 miles northwest of Houston.
TACO hopes to achieve the lower electrical rates by working with a Corpus Christi-based consultant, Marco Arredondo, who has already secured lower electric rates for TACO’s first vice president, Ralph Fels, who manages three campgrounds in the Rio Grande Valley with a combined 3,000 sites. The campgrounds include Llano Grande in Mercedes, Victoria Palms in Donna, and Alamo Palms in Alamo.
Fels, whose new electric rates take effect in June, expects to cut his electric costs by about 25% as a result of the contracts Arredondo negotiated with Texas utilities. “It’s going to make us more profitable,” he said, adding that Arredondo receives a percentage of the savings as his fee.
Fels said it behooves members to work with a consultant like Arredondo because he knows the details of deregulation and knows how to negotiate with electric utilities. Arredondo is a former employee of Central Power and Light and a regional director of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
TACO members who want to obtain lower rates will be asked to provide copies of their electric bills to the association so that Arredondo can analyze their power consumption patterns and costs. Arredondo said he expects to initially negotiate lower electric rates for individual campgrounds on a case-by-case basis. Additional savings will materialize down the road, he said, after he has compiled detailed power consumption data from a number of TACO members. Arredondo will then be able to use the combined data from a number of Texas campgrounds to negotiate lower rates for participating TACO members.
The concept of a campground association negotiating lower rates on behalf of its members is a relatively new phenomenon in the campground sector, with the Campground Owners of New York (CONY) being another example.
CONY Executive Director Robert Klos said his association has been working with Gordon Boyd of Salerni & Boyd of Saratoga Springs, N.Y. to negotiate lower electrical rates for about 70 New York campgrounds.