Help your cooperative save you money
Article was added on Wednesday, March 01, 2017
It has been a while since I had to wear it, but I need to put my
old electrical engineer's hat back on to write this particular
column. Forgive me if it's a bit technical, but there is no
other way to express how much we need your help.
Although Santee Electric bills nearly 100 percent of its
membership solely on energy usage (measured in kilowatt-hours or
kWh), we actually pay our own bill based on two components. In case
any of you did not know, Santee Electric Cooperative (SEC) does not
generate electricity. Rather, we purchase it on a wholesale basis
and then distribute it to nearly 45,000 meters in four
Now, back to those two components. Like all of you, we
must pay for every kWh of energy that is used by our members for
the month. However, unlike the great majority of our
membership, we also pay a demand charge - the second component.
Demand (measured in kilowatts or kW) is a measure of the electrical
burden placed on the grid at a given moment in time.
Most of the time, these two components - demand and energy - go
hand in hand. In a particularly cold month (like January
usually is, for example), there will typically be above-average
energy usage and a particularly large peak. When these two
complement each other, it helps SEC to keep its per-unit costs
down. For example, when January causes a high demand charge, there
are usually a lot of kWh sold over which to spread this cost.
Likewise, when mild weather in April leads to lower energy sales,
it's alright because the demand charge is also relatively
But it doesn't always work out this way. This past January
yielded the highest per-unit cost SEC has ever paid for
electricity. The cause of this was an extremely mild month (lots of
days with temperatures in the 70's) with the exception of one very
cold weekend (January 7-9 yielded lows in the teens).
We here at SEC want to do all we can to help you use less energy
and we have proved this time and again with information and
programs we offer to our membership. Members can find money saving
information on our website santee.org, by following our social
media posts or by stopping by our office for a 101 Low cost No cost
energy tip brochure. We also offer the Help My House program which
helps members shape up their homes for energy savings and finance
the cost on their power bill.
Now, however, we need your help. The Beat the Peak program we
are introducing this month is critical to making sure we don't have
another month like January, 2017. Low energy sales are fine, but we
have to do something - as a team - to lower that demand charge as
Please take the time to read the ways that you can help your
Cooperative out with this new program. Together, you can make
a huge difference in the demand charge we all pay. Of course, since
you OWN this cooperative, a lower demand charge and a lower overall
cost mean more coming back to you as capital credits. Thank you
very much for your time and attention this month, and thank you in
advance for any support you can lend to help us Beat the Peak!
Robert G. Ardis III
President and Chief Executive 0fficer
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