The price of everything has been going up lately and we're all doing our best to make ends meet. Energy and electricity costs are no exception. Unlike large corporate-owned electric companies, Sulfur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative is member owned. With that in mind, they're working hard to contain costs to its members.
Getting Ahead of the Sticker Shock
According to the SSVEC press release, global market forces are driving local energy costs. Here's where the problem started and how they're working to ease the pressure on everyone.
Why Energy Bills Have Increased
If you read your electric bill closely, you may have noticed the Wholesale Power and Fuel Cost Adjuster (Fuel Adjuster) has suddenly jumped.
Ron Lee, Vice President of Finance and Accounting at SSVEC, explained, "The Fuel Adjuster is a pass-through cost. It is the amount [SSVEC is] charged for the fuel used to generate electricity, and ACC rules require that we pass this cost on to our members." SSVEC is not the only power company experiencing this problem. The problem has hit power companies nationwide.
The problem is not contained in the United States, either. Natural gas price have spiked and hit utilities and consumers globally. We saw Europe’s scramble to secure energy after Russia attacked Ukraine, and it's hit the energy market hard. In fact, energy exports to Europe saw an increase of over 400% last year.
What SSVEC is Doing About Climbing Prices
Since SSVEC is member-owned, they take this price increase seriously. The same way our electric bills collect the cost after we've used the electricity in our homes and businesses, SSVEC receives a bill for the electricity it provides to customers. Last June, SSVEC worked on a plan to recoup the cost of the $10 million under-collected when the price jump hit.
The plan was to protect members from a sudden and drastic increase in costs. SSVEC ramped up to the current rate over several months, so members wouldn't see a drastic spike in their bill. Fuel prices have continued to be volatile, so they started by pausing the Fuel Adjuster.
Other ways SSVEC is working to keep costs under control is by investing in renewables and working with their primary power provider, Arizona G&T to lock in more stable pricing for the future.
What You Can Do to Save Money
The consumer can work to use less electricity, whenever possible. First, sign up for a free energy audit through SSVEC, to include an inspection of heating and cooling systems.
Also, sign up for a rebate program for energy-efficient appliances, and consider installing solar panels.
Please see the SSVEC website for a complete list of ways you can cut your energy costs and save money.
How Long with the Fuel Adjustment Last?
There's no way to know at this time, but SSVEC is working to secure a more stable future. As a member-owned cooperative, they keep their members' best interests in mind, stating, "After all, our members are our friends, neighbors, family, and community. Furthermore, we at SSVEC are members too."
Thank you to Eric Peterman and SSVEC for the information contained in this article.