Saving Energy Could Save Every Member Money

Saving Energy Could Save Every Member Money

FreeState Electric Cooperative includes a line item on its electric bills to members each month a charge called the Power Cost Adjustment (PCA). When members voluntarily conserve energy by altering their daily habits (especially during peak demand), every cooperative member saves money. 

The Power Cost Adjustment is a separate line item on each month’s electric bill statement which reflects the increases/decreases in the co-op's cost of power purchased wholesale from Westar and KEPCo. The fluctuation in the Power Cost Adjustment is largely caused by changes in the cost of generation.

Most electric power purchased for FEC is produced by steam generation plants which use coal, natural gas, and oil as fuels to produce the steam that turns the generators that produce the electric power. 

The co-op's cost of wholesale power is now more than 65 percent of FreeState’s total expenses, so it's critical that the co-op makes sure that it recovers all of its wholesale power costs in its retail sales. The cost is collected from the co-op's members through the energy charge and the Power Cost Adjustment.

The adjustment passes on the difference between the actual cost of wholesale power each month and the base cost used in determining rate schedules. The formula charges all members equally for increases and decreases in the cost of producing electric power.

Each month's Power Cost Adjustment is established on the first billing day after management's review of Westar and KEPCo’s latest billing and projected power costs for the month.

The Power Cost Adjustment on an electric bill statement is computed by multiplying the amount charged or credited by the number of kilowatt hours used. 

For example, if the amount charged is .02420, and 1000 kWh was used during the billing period, the Power Cost Adjustment would be a charge of $24.20.

Weather can skew the cost per KWH. Extreme heat or mild months can impact the cost per kWh on the wholesale power bill.

How conserving energy in your own home can save your neighbor money.

With your cooperation we can not only help control the cost of power, but also reliability. 

The best times to practice energy conservation are Monday through Friday from June 1 to September 30 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. because the peak electricity demand for those months drives the electricity billing for the remainder of the year. 

FEC asks that you be aware of peak demand. This means we are not only looking at higher billing rates, but also have a higher risk of reliability issues. 

When you consume electricity at any given time it is known as “load.” FEC adds up all of the electric consumption from all of our members at any given time to determine the load for our entire system. There comes a time, every day, when the system reaches its peak. That’s when most of us, all at once, are using the most electricity. 

Your cooperative must have enough power to meet your needs, and it is also the time when it costs the most to provide you with power. By keeping an eye on your usage and keeping it stable during peak days you’re helping us with load management – and that in turn, helps each of our member-owners. 

Late afternoons to early evenings are peak times for us. We encourage you to use your major appliances like washers, dryers, and dishwashers during early morning hours, or later in the evenings. 

• Doing laundry earlier or later in the day

• Use your slow cooker instead of the stove to prepare dinner

• Shutting off a grain dryer for a few hours in the afternoon

• Stopping irrigation pumps during the heat of the day

Using your energy conservatively keeps costs down, and rates stable, which reduces the need for new power sources. We can all play a part in energy conservation and cooperative load management. 

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