What is the real value of electricity?

Us baby boomers don’t have the experience of living without electricity.  Imagine carrying water for laundry, cleaning, bathing, and cooking.  The constant wood supply needed to keep the house warm and for use in the stove for cooking.  Kerosene lanterns used for evening mending or schoolwork and reading. 

Today we are surrounded by devices using electricity.  Electricity is like a warm blanket keeping us cozy.  Our lights, heat, entertainment, communication all use electric energy.  Sometimes it is like the favorite blanket carried by a toddler, don’t take it away!   Can you imagine not being able to watch the Super Bowl because there is no power?  How much are you willing to pay to ensure that this one four hour event is on your TV?

Any outage we experience is more than an inconvenience. We can’t use the telephone because it’s electric…we can’t go on the computer because it’s electric…we can’t watch television because it’s electric…we can’t cook because it’s electric….we can’t use the bathroom because the pump is electric.  The list goes on and on. 

What I’m trying to bring to the fore front is value.  What is the real value received by having those wires in our homes delivering that instantly available energy?  Since we live in the US and born after 1945 the concept of value for the energy we consume may be a little skewed. 

A Latte cost $3.25. (I like to have one periodically.)  If I have one everyday it would cost me $97.50 each month.  A 100 watt incandescent light bulb left on for a month would cost $43.20.  Now there is a perspective on value!  Look at the communication bill for the home; cell phone, land line, and internet service.  Compare that to the bill received with this newsletter.  Another insight into the value of the service supplied.

What’s my pitch?  Electricity is a good value.  It provides excellent service from heating coffee, lighting rooms at night, running water pumps, and providing cold storage for food.   It is a good value at three times the price.  No, the price isn’t going up three times.  It is going up though.

Arrowhead is a cooperative; the costs for operations and maintenance, upgrading of services, administration and service to our members, is shared by us all.  Our power supply costs continue to rise.  Next year the wholesale energy price will make up 60% of our operating expenses.  The budget for 2010 is over $8 million and the 4000 accounts that Arrowhead serves cover those expenses in their rates. 

The board of directors is reviewing the budget and will approve the new budget and rates in December for 2010.  We already know there will be a rate increase in January of 2010 that is 6.2% overall.  The different rate classes, residential, seasonal, commercial & large power will be affected differently.

2009 has been a challenging year for everyone and the future will bring us more challenges as our economy improves, technology evolves and we strive to meet the needs of our members.

Our mission is “Through the power of human connections, we will provide quality utility services in a reliable, cost-effective, and environmentally safe manner.”  It means we have our work cut out for us.

Everyone at Arrowhead extends our wishes that your family has a joyous holiday season filled with family, hope, peace and love.

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