Climate Change vrs. Rates

[polldaddy poll=1620602][polldaddy poll=1620579]Welcome to our blog!  We’re new at this so please be patient!  HOWEVER, our goal is to keep this updated with things happening at the cooperative which will keep you informed.  We hope to discuss energy savings tips, heating programs, electrical concepts, renewable energy ideas and more to help keep you informed and act as a resource for all your questions.

2 Responses to “Climate Change vrs. Rates”

  1. Mistafey says:

    When we built our new home, we contacted Arrowhead to find out what we could do to minimize our electric rates. Arrowhead gave us several suggestions, which we followed, including off peak power appliances and water heating.

    We spent the extra funds to reap the benefits of lower electric rates. Now, Arrowhead took away the special rates and our electric rates have jumped significantly. After paying to install the recommended features to save us on electric rates, we now get stuck with no break in rates and our monthly rates keep going up.

    I know they have their excuse of blaming the powers beyond their control, but the bottom line is that it was not fair to the owners who took their suggestions and spent the extra dollars to get a reduced rate, only to end up paying high rates.

  2. arrowelec says:

    You did the right thing by working with Arrowhead when building your home. It is our deepest intention to help our members (or future members) to build strucutres which are energy efficient and will help keep your energy bills as low as possible. I’d like to offer a few comments about our rate programs and then discuss what happened to some of the specific rates such as the “Choice” and “Freedom” rates.

    Great River Energy, Arrowhead Electric’s wholesale power supplier credits us each month for all energy (kWh’s) sold under various rate programs they offer. They do this in exchange for Arrowhead (and ultimately our members) allowing a radio device to “control” your space and/or water heating systems. As a result of Arrowhead Electric receiving credits on our monthly power bill we in turn provide an EnergyWise Reduced Rate to our members whom allow control of their space and water heating systems.

    Great River Energy has had and continues to offer many rate programs. Each year they must evaluate the programs they offer and weigh the benefits such as the quantity of control hours in a day vs. the cost of energy during the control times. Programs such as the Silver Choice, Silver Choice Plus and Freedom rate programs only provided Great River Energy with a limited amount of control time. Often this control time only covered a portion of when energy demand is at its highest. In contrast, rates such as Off-Peak Electric Thermal Storage allow Great River Energy to control for a longer period of time allowing for more benefit on a large scale. Great River Energy also had problems with many of the rate programs because they were designed for properties where only 1 building existed per property. That one building would then have 1 heating system and 1 water heater which was controlled. We all know that in rural communities though that we often times have more than 1 building. Many people build a house and then a garage or a garage with a loft and then a house later on. In either instance, the first building would have a controlled heating and/or water heating system. Unfortunately, their is not incentive for the property owner to contact Arrowhead Electric when building the second building and installing the second heating and/or water heating system. This second “new load” is then metered on building number 1′s meter at the EnergyWise Reduced Rate but the coooperatives do not get the benefit of the control. Thus, the cooperatives actually lose money on the systems in building 2. This was very common problem.

    Because of the reasons listed above, Great River Energy abruptly closed the Choice and Freedom rates to all of their cooperatives (including Arrowhead) a couple years ago. We did not think it was fair to abruptly raise the rates of those members on those EnergyWise reduced rate programs. Rather, we have taken a couple years to phase in the rates which we hope alleviated some of the financial burden.

    For the first time ever, we are able to offer rebates on Electric Thermal Storage (ETS) heating rebates. The rebates are $25/kW of installed capacity. Also, if you are a member on one of these rates currently which will be ending in 2010 you can qualify for a larger rebate of upto $40/kW for ETS systems! Their are other ways to reduce your heating costs too. You could switch to a Dual Fuel rate which allows you to utilize propane as you choose to heat your home. Other, more less expensive things may include an energy audit to identify building envelope issues such as leaks around window and doors.

    Ultimately, we do not feel good about the necessity to raise electric rates. We want to keep the rates to our membership at the best value possible. Some members, possibly such as yourself were unfortunate in that they built their home just prior to us knowing about the closure of the Choice and Freedom rates. Had we known, we assure you that we would provided some cautionary advice.

    Lastly, please continue to communicate with us and use us as a resource. We may not have been able to warn you about this particular rate closure but perhaps we can help you in some other means. Perhaps some ideas on how to conserver energy or how to participate in our Watt Savings energy contest.

    Thank you for writting.