Why electricity remains a good value

Electricity is used every day. Often times we don’t think about it. We trust the electricity will be there to power our alarm clocks so we can wake up on time, brew our first cup of coffee and have a warm shower before heading out the door. Often though, the value of electricity is taken for granted.

If you came home this evening and turned on your electric range or microwave to make supper, you are one of Arrowhead Electric’s 4,000 members using electricity in your home.

Recently, much has been made of the rising cost of electricity, now and in the future. While that is true, it’s important to understand that electricity remains an undeniable bargain, and one of life’s great conveniences.

Electricity continues to be a good value, especially when compared to other consumer goods. Consider the cost of a gallon of gas 30 years ago compared to today’s price. How about a pound of coffee or a loaf of bread? While this doesn’t take the sting out of rising costs, it does show that the cost of electricity has remained relatively flat, despite its increased use and value to our daily lives.

Today, there are more people served by electric cooperatives than ever before and most members are using more electronic devices and more power than years ago.

Take personal computers, for example. The PC first came available to the general public in the 1970’s, and by 1998 there were more than 300 million in operation. Ten years late, in 2008, PCs numbered 1 billion. Experts predict that the number of PCs will reach 2 billion by 2014.

To keep up with this trend, electric utilities have needed to spend millions of dollars to build more electrical infrastructure so electricity can remain reliable and plentiful to those who use it. These investments in the electrical system ultimately end up on members’ bill.

Whether you consider yourself a bargain hunter or not, you are taking advantage of one of the best deals around every time you plug in an electrical device. Sure, you pay your power bill each month, but do you know what you’re really getting?

For every $1 you spend on electricity, here’s how long you’re able to operate common household electronics*:

  • Refrigerator:     1 week
  • Ceiling fan:        30 days
  • Lamp:               6 months
  • Cell phone:       1 ½ years
  • 32-inch LCD TV:  88 hours

*Sources: ENERGY STAR, U.S. Department of Energy, Natural Resource Defense Council, manufacturers’ information.

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