Members are worried about the recent arctic blast and what it will do to their electric bill. Below are some answers to questions we have been asked over the last several days.

ARCTIC BLAST/BILLING

FAQs (FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS)

Was there a shortage of power?
As the severe winter weather unfolded, some power generating facilities were unable to operate, causing power generation prices to spike in certain regions. As prolonged cold temperatures continued, consumers were simultaneously using more power to heat their homes, causing a surge in demand for power and a higher cost for that electricity in the market.

Why was I was asked to reduce consumption, when I am paying for it?
Shifting electricity use during off-peak times helped to minimize the demand on our load and significantly lower the effect on your bill. Even though White River does not currently charge time-of-use rates, that is how we are billed from our power providers. It will ultimately influence rates.

What is a rolling blackout, and how does it help?
Rolling blackouts, also known as rotational load shedding, are an intentionally engineered electrical power shutdown in which electricity delivery is stopped. The goal is to reduce the load by impacting a minimal amount of the system for a designated amount of time and then returning power to the affected area. Then, moving to a different part of the system. This can be accomplished on our system by de-energizing the entire substation and not just selecting among individual members. These outages usually won’t last longer than one hour. Afterward, the substation is re-energized and another substation in the system is turned off. Although we were prepared, we were fortunate that our power providers did not require us to take this measure.

How much is my bill going to increase?
Because of increased energy usage to heat homes during extremely cold weather, many co-op members will experience higher bills in the coming month. We project a 35% average increase compared to prices from one year ago due to the cold snap. Keep in mind every member’s situation is different. That number is an average of what to expect.

I turned my thermostat down a couple of degrees, why is my bill going up?
It’s important to remember that when temperatures go down in winter, heating needs go up, which increases energy use in homes and other spaces. Even if a thermostat is kept at the same temperature inside, the heat pump or furnace must work harder when it gets colder outside – increasing energy use and energy bills as a result.
Space heating and water heating are the two biggest sources of energy use in most households, accounting for over 50% of a home’s energy use during the winter months. In sub-zero temps lasting an entire week, this will inevitably cause your bill to increase – even if nothing about your behavior has changed.

ASSISTANCE IS AVAILABLE

Do you offer any assistance paying this month’s bill?
We want to work with members who are struggling to pay their bill. Please contact our offices to discuss payment arrangements. We have options for both traditional and pre-pay members to alleviate the worry of being disconnected.

Are there any other resources available to help?
There is a substantial amount of money available through government-funded programs specifically for helping families pay their energy bills like LIHEAP. In some instances, monies that could potentially offset the cost of energy used for an entire month.

How can I even out these higher-than-usual bills in the future?
By calling the office AHEAD Of the due date of your bill, we can work out payment arrangements with you.

Are there any other ways to decrease how much energy I use?
If you are concerned about your electric use, we offer energy audits and have several energy efficiency rebates to help you reduce consumption. There are also USDA grant monies available to assist members that are looking to upgrade large equipment to minimize their footprint.