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 and coal to generate electricity. The cost of natural gas and coal is more expensive than last year. As an example, natural gas costs are nearly three times higher in 2022 than in 2021.
The Coop rates are approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). The residential kWh electric rates have not been raised since 2008. There is a mechanism called a power cost adjustor (PCA) is used to smooth out the rates. The PCA adjusts based on the cost of power and can fluctuate month to month. 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 comparison such as kilowatt usage and capital credit refunds which are a credit on your utility statement.
I have solar panels, why are my utility bills still high?
Answer: For many of the same reasons given for a standard residential member. The Gila Valley had a wet summer with many cloudy days which affects solar production. This coupled with higher gas and coal prices will cause all of our electric utility bills to be higher than last year.
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. As supplies of these resources specifically natural gas and coal increase, we expect the cost to generate electricity to be less.
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. There have been may 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.
Feel free to stop by the Coop offices if there are any questions.