Message from General Manager & CEO Chris Tackmann
If you look around your home, you likely have more devices and equipment that require electricity than ever before. Our connected lives are increasingly dependent on more electricity to function. At the same time, as demand for electricity rises, Oakdale Electric Cooperative (OEC) must deliver an uninterrupted 24/7 power supply––regardless of market conditions or other circumstances.
As you would expect based on your family’s habits, electricity use fluctuates throughout the day based on consumer demand. OEC must be able to provide enough electricity to meet the energy needs of all members during times of highest energy use or “peak hours.” These peak times are typically in the morning as people start their day and in the evening as people return to their homes.
What you may not know is that electric utilities including OEC typically pay more for electricity––either from a power plant or from another utility with excess power––during those morning and evening “energy rush hours.” In addition, the demand for electricity is even higher when it’s especially cold outside, when heating systems must run longer to warm our homes.
If the “peak times” concept is puzzling, here’s an easy way to think about it. It’s like a major concert. We know costs go up when there is strong demand for tickets (or electricity), and both are subject to the basic economic laws of supply and demand. When a lot of people want the same thing, it’s more expensive. When they don’t, it’s cheaper––like a bargain matinee or an “early bird” special at a restaurant.
During peak periods when the cost to produce and purchase power is higher, we encourage you to take simple steps to save energy, such as turning your thermostat down a few notches, turning off unnecessary lights and waiting to use of large appliances during off-peak times. You can also save energy by plugging electronics and equipment such as computers, printers and TVs into a power strip, then turn it off at the switch during peak hours.
If you have a programmable thermostat, adjust the settings to sync up with off-peak periods. When we all work together to reduce energy use during periods of high electricity demand, we can relieve pressure on the grid and save a little money along the way. Reducing the peak impacts the power-supply cost to every co-op member. This is particularly noticeable as energy costs have risen across the United States. Collectively, everyone conserving energy and making small changes can truly make a difference.
RESIDENTIAL DEMAND NOTICE
Beginning 2023, members will see an additional line item on statements. OEC will be adding monthly demand peaks data to residential general service account statements, at zero charge to members. Peak demand charges—the highest demand for power in a given month—can be separated from the energy rate to more fairly allocate costs to serve members. Separating demand costs from energy costs can therefore help ensure that we can allocate actual costs of service as fairly as possible.
A cost-of-service study will be completed this year. Results of the study may influence other rate changes later this year, with the possibility of residential demand charges in future years. If changes are implemented, it will be communicated to our membership.
There are no plans to implement residential demand charges in 2023.