Q: Why is my electric bill so high?

Many members have recently reached out to GVEA due to high electric bills. Here are a few things to consider:

  • The January invoice …
    • was longer than normal at 34 days.
      • Typically, the billing cycle is closer to 28 days.
    • may have reflected higher electric consumption due to activities over the holidays.
      • Electrical decorations is an obvious electric draw.
      • Did you have guests over? More people = more energy consumed (showers, lights, cooking, laundry, etc.).
      • New appliances … were new items added to the home (hot tub, flat screen TV, electric devices that need to be recharged)?
      • If you got a new TV (or refrigerator), what did you do with the old one? If it’s still in the home, but relocated to a bedroom (or garage), it’s still using power.
  • The February invoice …
    • showed the impact of the extreme cold snap.
      • Most furnaces were nearly running continuously.
      • Many people had their vehicles plugged in continuously.
      • Did you run a small heater to take the chill off a room?
      • Were you worried about pipes freezing, so you plugged in heat tape?
  • The March invoice …
    • Each quarter, the Fuel & Purchased Power (F&PP) rate is recalculated and approved by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA). The latest calculation, effective March 1, 2017, has the rate increasing 2.6 cents per kWh (from 8.257¢ to 10.857¢). This represents a 31.48% increase from the last quarter’s rate and will increase the average monthly 600-kWh residential bill by $15.60. Drivers for the recent F&PP increase include:
      • Less power available for purchase from the South-central utilities.
      • Less power available for purchase from Aurora Energy.
      • Unexpected maintenance required on GVEA’s base-load units (Healy #1 and NPEP).
      • The demand for fuel at GVEA’s North Pole Plant exceeded fuel production from Petro Star Inc.’s refinery; therefore, a more expensive fuel needed to be trucked to North Pole from Valdez.
      • Eva Creek Wind Farm generated less due to icing conditions.
    • These factors resulted in GVEA utilizing our more-expensive generating units and burning more fuel than expected. As a result, the pass-through F&PP rate for December through February was under collected and a true up was needed.

Keep in mind that the variables that make up a individual electric bill are truly endless. Therefore, GVEA strongly recommends members signup for a Home$ense audit to learn about electric consumption within their own residences. Alternatively, you can visit our website to learn more on your own. Here are two web pages that you may find helpful:

  1. Why is my bill so high?  (Common reasons a bill may increase.)
  2. You have the power to use less.  (20 tips on how to consume less power.)

To help with fluctuations, GVEA offers two budget billing options, which allow members to take control of their monthly bills:

  1. Rolling Average Billing
  2. Levelized Budget Billing

Call Member Services at 907-452-1151 or email ms@gvea.com for more information or to sign up.

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