Co-op Working to Mitigate Wholesale Power Costs

LIVINGSTON, July 2, 2014 - East Texas Electric Cooperative’s new Woodville Renewable Power Facility, which is nearing completion, will produce 49 megawatts of clean, carbon-neutral electricity close to home for Cooperative members. It will also diversify ETEC’s generation portf

Following the cold temperatures that gripped the country this past winter, natural gas inventories are still low and prices remain high. Natural gas inventories and prices are improving, but the recovery process is taking time. To reduce the impact that high natural gas prices and pending EPA regulations are having on electric bills, Sam Houston Electric Cooperative is taking proactive measures.

According to Sam Houston EC chief executive officer Kyle J. Kuntz, P.E., rising wholesale electricity costs are resulting in an increase of just over 1 cent per kilowatt-hour, which translates to $11.70 on the average residential electric bill.

“We are a not-for-profit, member-owned organization,” Kuntz said. “Our first priority is to look out for our members. That’s why we work so hard to reduce the impact of higher wholesale power costs on members’ electric bills.”

In the first half of 2014, natural gas inventories have been low, and several key power generating facilities the Co-op receives power from have been unavailable for an extended time due to repairs. These factors, along with transmission congestion during times of high electricity demand, have had an impact on electric bills. Consumers across the country are experiencing similar issues related to wholesale power costs. This is particularly true as it relates to transmission costs in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) region that includes much of East Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and all the way up through Minnesota and North Dakota.

“The good news is that we expect these situations to improve,” Kuntz said. “We encourage our members to take basic measures to reduce their electric bills by conserving electricity. In the meantime, the Cooperative is working to mitigate the impact these factors are having on electric bills. Our focus, as we address wholesale energy prices, is to look out for our members’ best interests.”

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