Yellow Warbler, near Salmon Lake

The Future Looks Bright

Posted: November 1, 2018

The Value of Electricity Continues to Shine

Mark Hayden
Mark Hayden

As a kid growing up on the farm, I distinctly remember my parents heading out to the pole in the yard to read the co-op’s electric meter, so they could pay the “light bill.” My parents referred to it as the light bill, because they were old enough to vividly recall when the lights came on in rural Wisconsin. Fast forward to today where we so often take for granted the value that electricity plays in our day-to-day lives.

Electricity keeps us connected – literally! Consider the abundant conveniences we experience because of the power lines that run to the electric meters outside our homes. Whether you’re kicking back to watch television, grabbing your fully-charged cell phone off the charger, or asking “Alexa,” to play your favorite tune, you’re taking advantage of the electricity that fluidly runs to your home. This reliable electricity comes directly from Missoula Electric Cooperative (MEC) and our goal is to ensure that our members can continue to “keep their lights on.”

The next time you flip the light switch at home, look around. Perhaps you have a coffee pot that automatically brews your coffee at 6 am sharp or a crock pot that has your dinner ready for you when you walk in the door. These everyday amenities are just a handful of the appliances that we use daily by way of electricity. The good news is, as time goes on and we continue to add more chargers to our outlets, electricity is still considered a bargain when compared to the other things we use regularly. Since 2011, medical care, residential rental rates and the cost of education have increased at rates of 3 percent or more per year. Basic groceries, such as butter, eggs and even meat have shot up more than 1-2 percent annually.

While other industries are seeing substantial increases year-over-year, electricity costs have only risen about 1 percent annually. Contrarily, co-ops across the country have reported a decline in the average residential use per household since 2010. That means consumers are doing more things with less energy. Kilowatt hour use per household dropped by 8 percent between 2010 and 2016, just shy of the 9 percent nationwide decline reported by all electric utilities. When it comes to consumer value, electricity is a clear winner! This is helpful for businesses, families and individuals that are adhering to a monthly budget. It will continue to become even more important as digital devices and internet-based technologies become more abundant in our daily lives. Today, the average home has 10 Wi-Fi connected devices. By 2020, that number is expected to surge to 50!

MEC continues to encourage energy efficiency, urges you to look for ENERGY STAR® appliances and promotes technology that’s designed to give members more control of their electricity use. We’re always working to provide a service that is reliable, affordable and helps our members “keep their lights on.” MEC wishes you a safe and happy hunting and holiday season ahead!

Source: NRECA