OEC rate expert breaks down the Power Cost Adjustment
Many factors can contribute to fluctuations in electric bills. The first, and most obvious, is the weather. We expect our electric bills to be reflective of the different seasons and the changes in routine each one brings. Other events, such as adding members to our household, a leaking water well or the addition of a pool, can cause an increase in costs as well. But what happens when our summer bills are noticeably higher than last summer’s bills when we’ve made no sizable changes? The answer can likely be found in the Cost Adjustment.
What is the Cost Adjustment?
“Rather than generating our own power, OEC purchases the power at wholesale cost and delivers it safely to members’ homes and businesses,” said Key Accounts Specialist and rate expert Tim Ferree. “The Cost Adjustment is a separate line-item on each bill that reflects the increases and decreases of the power we purchase from Western Farmers Electric Cooperative (WFEC).”
Why does the Cost Adjustment fluctuate?
The fluctuation in the Cost Adjustment is caused by changes in the cost of fuel for electric generation, mainly natural gas. Last summer, natural gas costs were around $3-$4/MMBTU — they currently sit at $7-$8/MMBTU.
A portion of OEC’s cost of power is already included in the energy charge, or kilowatt hour (kWh) charge. When the cost of power is greater than the amount included in the energy charge, the Cost Adjustment reflects that increase. When the cost of power purchased is less, the Cost Adjustment appears as a credit on electric bills.
Who is affected by the Cost Adjustment?
For about a year now, the electric industry has experienced record highs in the cost of generating electricity. These increases are caused mostly by the record high natural gas prices but are also believed to be results of the international crisis in Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 winter storm that caused rolling blackouts, inflation and government regulations.
Essentially, all electric consumers are affected by these events and are experiencing increases in their costs of power.
“Despite these hardships, WFEC is a leader in the integration of renewable energy that benefits all OEC members,” said Ferree. “WFEC has been able to maintain a reliable supply of wholesale electric service across their region at a very competitive price.”
OEC prices remain below the national average price of electricity, and we continually work with WFEC to ensure that remains the case.
What can I do in the meantime?
We provide a variety of solutions for those seeking relief from these temporary price increases.
- Apply for a FREE energy audit through our Home Energy Consultation Program to identify ways your home can cut energy use — and costs.
- Enroll in hourly or daily high usage text message alerts via the MyOEC mobile app. If your electricity use exceeds your threshold, you will receive a text message and can take immediate action to avoid a high bill. Follow the directions below to sign up.
- Consider switching to a different rate. We offer three residential rates, each one ideal for different usage types and behaviors. Learn more and switch rates here.
- Use the MyOEC mobile app to make payment extensions.
Contact us here if you have additional questions regarding the Cost Adjustment or solutions.