MANAGING ENERGY COSTS
As a distribution cooperative, we do not generate power. Our rates are based on two main components - the actual cost of the wholesale power we buy from companies that generate electricity and the cost for us to get that power to you. We set rates based on projections of what energy costs will be in the future and the cost to deliver that energy to you.
Energy costs have increased over the last two years. Because of this, most residential members will see an average increase of 2% per month on electric bills, effective January 1, 2024. We understand that any increase in electric bills can be challenging for our members, so we continue to work diligently to minimize the impact of rising costs industry-wide and remain committed to providing the most competitive electric rate in the state.
HOW DO COBB EMC RATES COMPARE TO OTHER UTILITIES?
In the face of rising energy costs, our focus remains on keeping rates as affordable as possible for you. Our rates have been among the five lowest in the state since 2014, compared to 94 utilities for households using 1,000 kWh according to the Public Service Commission. Cobb EMC members have enjoyed stable electricity prices since 2015, which has enabled members to keep nearly $56 million in their pockets and in the local economy in the form of a wholesale power credit on their monthly bills since 2013.
Our members' bills are $36 lower per month than the state average, and we rank #1 for the lowest rates in the state among all 94 electric utilities for the second year in a row.
The lowest rates in the state among all 94 electric utilities:
How we're working for you
Our leadership, board of directors and every employee in our co-op family has worked diligently to offset the hurdles we have endured in recent years. From our working relationships with our suppliers and lending partners, to our financial strength thanks in part to the success of Gas South, to our dedicated employees working hard to control costs we have been able to keep costs down. In 2021 and 2022 Cobb EMC protected members from higher rates by absorbing $27 million in rising wholesale power costs with the help of dividends received from Gas South, our wholly owned subsidiary. Gas South helps us remain financially strong, which helps to keep electric rates low and reliability solid. Cobb EMC uses a diverse mix of fuel sources to provide your electricity, including coal and natural gas (47%), nuclear (38%), and renewable energy (15%). This balanced fuel mix helps reduce dramatic fluctuations in generation costs.
Other ways we work hard for you:
- We purchase electricity through several different suppliers and power purchase agreements at a wholesale cost to meet the needs of our members. Economic decisions are made hourly to ensure the lowest-cost resources are being used.
- We continuously add economic renewable energy resources to maintain stable power costs, diversified power supply, and help achieve long-term clean energy goals.
- We have a robust peak shaving program that helps us reduce the purchase of expensive power during high load periods. Watch our video to learn how we can work together to shave the peak.
- We proactively invest in and maintain our system to provide members with the most reliable power in the nation according to the IEEE's 2023 benchmark year study results. The study ranks Cobb EMC 1st in the nation for providing reliable power.
What you can do
- Spread out the use of large appliances during off-peak hours, before 2 p.m. and after 7 p.m., including your washer and dryer, dishwasher, and stove. Watch our video about how you can help shave the peak during the Power Rush Hour.
- Set your thermostat as high as comfortable in the summer months and as low as comfortable in the winter months. The Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78ºF in the summer and 68ºF in the winter.
- Close shades and drapes during the day to help keep your home cool in the summer. Open window coverings on sunny winter days to let the sunshine help heat your home.
- Use exhaust fans in bathrooms and while cooking to keep humidity at bay. Humidity accounts for up to half the cost of air conditioning.
- Watch our energy efficiency webinar for more practical ways to save energy and money.
We also offer a variety of programs and services to help members save on their energy bills including rate options to fit your lifestyle, HVAC Tuneup vouchers and energy improvement incentives. Visit our Energy Resource Center and videos for tips to help you shift your energy use to off-peak hours, an appliance calculator, and DIY tips to help you save energy year-round. By making small changes to our energy-use habits, we can help relieve pressure on the grid during extreme heat and save a little money along the way.
Since 2013, nearly $56 million has gone back to Cobb EMC members in the form of Wholesale Power Adjustment (WPA) credits, or what we like to call a Power Perk. Watch our quick video describing the WPA.
*If you are taking advantage of our Even Bill rate, your WPA credit will not appear as a line item on your bill. WPA credits are calculated into the Even Bill rate and are included at the time of Even Bill recalculation.
What is the Wholesale Power Cost Adjustment
You may have noticed the Wholesale Power Cost Adjustment (WPA) line item on your monthly bill. The WPA provides a monthly adjustment dependent on any differences in the base cost of wholesale power. For example, if the kilowatt-hour cost to Cobb EMC is lower than the base cost of power, the WPA is applied as a credit on your bill. In fact, since 2013, nearly $56 million has gone back to Cobb EMC members in the form of WPA credits. Now, if the kilowatt-hour cost is higher than the base cost of power, the WPA is applied as a charge. Having the WPA benefits members by covering monthly power cost fluctuations without having to continually restructure or permanently increase electricity rates. Watch our quick video describing the WPA line item.
What impacts WPA
During hot summer months when the demand for electricity is much higher, power may need to be purchased from more expensive sources at market price, which includes additional generation costs. Increased costs for fuels like natural gas also impact the price of wholesale power.
Watch our quick video to learn about the four factors that impact wholesale power costs and your electricity bills and what you can do to save.