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:

  • Holiday Activities …
    • Your bill may have reflected higher electric consumption due to activities over the holidays.
      • Electrical decorations is an obvious electric draw.
      • Did you have guests over? Were your kids home due to school break? 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.
  • Cold Snap …
    • Your bill may show the impact of the extreme cold snap.
      • Most furnaces were nearly running continuously.
      • Many people had their vehicle(s) 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?
  • Fuel & Purchased Power …
    • Each quarter, the Fuel & Purchased Power (F&PP) rate is recalculated and approved by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA). The latest calculation, effective December 1, 2019, increased the rate nearly two cents per kWh (from 9.177¢ to 10.998¢). This represents a 19.84% increase from the last quarter’s rate and will increase the average monthly 600-kWh residential bill by $10.93. Drivers for the recent F&PP increase include:
      • No power available from Bradley Lake Hydroelectric due to damage to the Soldotna to Quartz Creek (SQ) transmission line, which was sustained during the Swan Lake Fire. This continued until December 19, when the repaired transmission line was put back into service.
      • Continued limited power available for purchase from the South-central utilities.
      • Continued reduced generation output anticipated for Healy Unit 2 power plant.
    • These factors resulted in GVEA utilizing our more-expensive generating units and burning more fuel than expected.
  • Rates Increased …
    • The Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) approved a rate increase of 3 percent for all GVEA  members. This rate increase went into effect January 1, 2020, and is part of our Simplified Rate Filing (SRF) process.
    •  For residential members, this increase will only affect the Utility Charge component of your electric bill. The monthly increase will be $2.22 for the average residential account that uses 600 kWh per month
    • The current rate increase is due to increases in operating costs and capital expenditures.

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.

And the latest tool available to all members is My Account, GVEA’s new Member Portal. One feature available on the portal is the ability to “Review My Usage History.” Under this tab, you can access and review informative graphs of your electric usage down to 15-minute increments. You may find it helpful to take note of actions taken within the home one day, and then log in the next day to review how those actions impacted your electric bill. To create an account, you’ll need your GVEA meter and account numbers. Both can be found on your billing statement.