Factors affecting your electric bill: Gas prices impact energy costs

Making ends meet can be problematic in the best of times for many families. As prices rise across the board for many reasons, your local electric cooperative wants to help you however possible. 

“While we cannot change the factors affecting electricity prices, we have experts who can help you find ways to use less electricity in your home or business,” said TCEC CEO Zac Perkins. “Using less electricity will help keep your electric bill affordable.”

TCEC (Tri-County Electric Cooperative) is a not-for-profit electric cooperative that delivers electricity throughout the Oklahoma Panhandle, to Elkhart, Kansas, and surrounding areas. TCEC does not generate electricity. TCEC must purchase wholesale power from Golden Spread Electric Cooperative, which generates a portion of the electricity and purchases the remaining electricity from the wholesale market for TCEC’s members to use. Natural gas is the baseload generation for our area, and its price has doubled in the last year.

TCEC exists to serve its members rather than shareholders. It distributes and sells energy to members at cost and invests excess revenues into the electric system, later returning any margins to members as capital credits. The board of trustees and employees of TCEC are local people, representing the best interests of the membership and the cooperative as a whole. When prices for electricity rise, they’re affected too.

“TCEC works hard to keep controllable costs low while delivering excellent and reliable service to our members,” said Perkins. “We’re doing everything we can to deliver electricity at the lowest cost possible. The best way for any member to pay less for their electric bill is to use less electricity. We offer resources to help our members learn how to do that.”

Use these steps to reduce your electric bill.

  1. Sign up for the online account management system called ‘SmartHub’ and register your TCEC account.
    • Review your energy use charts.
    • Compare energy use to prior months and years.
    • Monitor unbilled energy use to identify potential problems before they occur.
  2. Visit the ‘Save’ page at https://www.tcec.coop/save.
    • Use the links provided to find energy efficiency resources from various sources.
    • Use the information about utility assistance programs to ask for help.
    • If you’ve done everything possible and are still struggling to lower your energy use, request an energy inquiry by completing the form provided.
  3. Learn more about the charges on your electric bill at https://www.tcec.coop/bill.
  4. Find information from the Energy Information Administration about why wholesale electricity prices are higher at https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=50798.
  5. Learn about factors affecting electricity prices nationally at https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/electricity/prices-and-factors-affecting-prices.php.
  6. Call TCEC during business hours at 580-652-2418 to discuss your electric bill or request literature on ways to save energy. 

TCEC members are not alone in their struggle to make ends meet amidst rising prices and increased electricity use. They have the advantage of being part of a not-for-profit cooperative that delivers electricity at cost rather than striving to make a profit for shareholders. TCEC is local and looking out for you, its members.