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When winter temperatures fall, energy usage increases and heating costs can consume a large portion of a household’s energy budget. In normal weather conditions, forty-two percent of winter home energy use is due to heating. Unfortunately, during Winter Storm Elliott last December, Kentucky had 108 consecutive hours of sub-freezing temperatures, with several of those hours below zero, along with 30- mile per hour wind gusts that drove extreme wind chills. Some South Kentucky RECC members may just now be seeing those frigid conditions reflected on their electric bills in the form of substantial increases.
The demand for electricity on the East Kentucky Power Cooperative grid (our energy supplier) during the storm strained mechanical equipment at power plants and natural gas pipelines. While no members within our service area experienced rolling blackouts, we can’t discount the severity of the situation. Sub-zero temperatures and howling winds coupled with substantially increased customer demand for power during the Christmas holiday when everyone was home with family were indeed the “perfect storm” for increased power bills.
The increases that members are currently seeing on their electric bills can be attributed to some other factors along with cold winter weather. Currently, other major drivers of electric bills are the significant increases in fuel costs and market prices which are pushing up the cost to produce energy. South Kentucky RECC, like our members, is a consumer of wholesale power from East Kentucky Power which means we are experiencing the same economy-driven cost increases in equipment, gas and diesel fuel, and supplies needed to maintain our electrical system.
We most certainly hear the voices of our members and understand that it is our responsibility to provide reliable electricity and related services at a competitive price. We are currently doing our best to accomplish this during difficult times and ask that you do your part as well. You can accomplish this by making sure that your home and/or business is not wasting valuable heating dollars by taking advantage of the energy saving tips posted on our website.
For those having trouble paying their electric bill, state funding is available through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. For more information, or if you have any questions or concerns, please contact your local South Kentucky RECC.