Why is my electric bill high

Why are my electricity costs higher than last year?

Answer: The Coop purchases power from Arizona Electric Power Cooperative (AEPCO) located in Cochise Arizona. AEPCO uses natural gas, coal, and solar to generate electricity. The cost of natural gas and coal is more expensive than last three years. As an example, natural gas costs have been much higher than the low prices we experienced in 2020.

The Coop rates are approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). The residential kWh electric rates have not been raised since 2018. There is a mechanism called a power cost adjustor (PCA) is used to pay for the fuel cost to generate electricity. The PCA changes based on the cost of wholesale power, which fluctuates for many reasons. During the hot summer months when the demand for electricity is higher, power may need to be purchased from different sources at market prices. Increased costs for fuels like natural gas and coal also impact the price of wholesale power. The cost of power is adjusted through the PCA cost adjustor which affects your overall utility bills. There are other factors that need to be considered in the year-to-year bill comparisons such as kilowatt usage, temperature, and amount of solar generation in a given month.

What is the Coop doing to lower members bills?

Answer: Our mission is to provide safe, reliable, and cost-effective resources to our members. We invest in proactive measures to reduce outages through vegetation management, utility pole replacement and system upgrades. This is critical to meet long-term goals. Managing business costs is always a top priority.

When will the cost of energy come down?

Answer: Currently our national energy policy created constraints on natural gas and coal supplies. The war in Ukraine also contributes to the higher natural gas costs. The cost to generate electricity is directly affected by the supply and price of natural gas and coal. Some good news is our Purchase Cost Adjuster model shows the adjuster to start coming down in September through the end of 2023.

Why can’t the Coop install solar and lower energy costs?

Answer: Graham County Electric is an all-requirements member of the Arizona Electric Power Cooperative (AEPCO). We partner with AEPCO to invest in renewable solar projects including batteries for storage and wind resources. There have been many news articles about California who has an aggressive renewable energy program that has suffered higher costs and reliability issues. The renewable technology is improving and we will continue investing in these technologies at the right pace that will benefit all of our members. Large renewable energy projects are expensive and can be complicated in designing a reliable system. Our goal is to have the right mix or portfolio of energy products to provide our members a safe reliable and cost effective electricity for many years in the future.

The Coop is a nonprofit utility owned by our members. The high cost of electricity is felt by all of our members. If you have questions please feel free to stop by the Coop offices for more information.