Energy efficiency: It benefits us all

Posted on Jan 25 2019 in LaGrange County REMC
Mark Leu

You’ve probably seen information from LaGrange County REMC detailing ways you can use less electricity. You may be thinking: “Why would we recommend such a thing? Shouldn’t we want to sell more electricity to make more money?”

It may come as a surprise, but the answer is no, for two reasons.

First, using more electricity isn’t helpful from a financial standpoint, because our cooperative doesn’t generate the electricity you use. We buy it from our power supplier, Wabash Valley Power Association, and work with other electric co-ops to obtain the best prices and most reliable supplies.

Collaboratively, we estimate how much electricity our members will need, and then enter into agreements to buy that electricity. But if we get into a situation where our members need more electricity than we predicted, we may have to buy more from the wholesale market. Because other power suppliers also need more electricity at those times, the increased demand drives the cost of wholesale power up, and we have to pass those higher costs along to our members. Members can help save by using less electricity between 4-8 p.m. when peak amounts of electricity are consumed.

Americans are also using more electricity with each passing year. Even though manufacturers are producing ENERGY STAR®-rated appliances and lighting, power needs continue to rise. Look around your house. You’ll see a number of conveniences, including mobile devices and computers, that didn’t exist 25 years ago, and nearly all of them are powered by electricity. Since the supply of electricity isn’t growing as quickly as America’s appetite for it, that demand drives costs higher.

By helping you make more energy-efficient decisions, we can reduce the amount that we need to buy and help keep our costs under control. In addition, we know that using and generating less electricity is better for the environment, which is important to the communities we serve.

Second, and most importantly, we’re not an investor-owned utility. Our electric co-op is a not-for-profit organization that exists to serve the needs of our members. We don’t need to make profits for shareholders, so there’s no reason for us to encourage members to use more electricity. Instead, we work to help our members make the most of their energy dollars while improving the comfort of their homes. This improves the quality of our members’ lives and lets them keep more of their hard-earned money.

For more about energy efficiency in your home, contact Energy Advisor Jake Taylor. He offers members free residential energy audits, answers members’ energy questions and makes recommendations on energy-efficient building techniques.