It’s important to identify that the part of the bill that went up is the Fuel and Purchased Power Charge. This charge covers costs associated with purchasing power from Anchorage and buying oil to operate our power plants. Here are three reasons why this charge went up:
- Healy I was down for maintenance. Healy I burns coal, our lowest cost power by a lot. Coal-fired power is about a third of the cost of oil-fired power.
- We’re getting less power from Anchorage and it’s at a higher price. Just like Fairbanks, Anchorage electric utilities have a higher demand in the winter months. This means they have limited extra power to sell us. Also, the cost to purchase electricity from Anchorage has gone up, though it is still less expensive than our own oil-fired generation.
- Fuel prices have gone up. Overall crude oil prices are up seven percent over the last quarter’s fuel and purchased power adjustment (September 1). Just to put this in perspective, a barrel of oil cost $107 in August of this year and averaged $115 in November.
What else is tied to oil?
A lot. Oil is how we get around – cars, even snowmachines. It’s how our food and Christmas presents are transported – planes, truck, barge, train, etc. In November of 2000, the average barrel of crude oil cost $33. As oil has gone up, so have prices across the board. Check this out:
- Gas has gone up 189 percent
- Apartment rates are up 51 percent
- Beef prices are 160 percent higher
- Electric bills have risen 151 percent