Watts News
 Published for the members of North Itasca Electric Cooperative
VOL. 22 NO. 10  -  October 2019

Value of electricity


Despite the cost factors involved in energy production; Great River Energy (North Itasca Electric Cooperative’s wholesale energy provider) along with North Itasca Electric have been able to keep rates reasonable despite regulations and mandates.

The average home today consumes between 800 and 1,200 kWh per month (not including electric heat). At the general service rate of $0.1249 per kWh, average electric costs run between $99.92 to $149.88 per month. How does this compare to our basic cell phone, internet and satellite television plans we pay each month? Then, if we desire more than what the basic service plan offers, we need to pay more.

There are not too many living today that can remember what it was like without electricity. Then; gas lanterns, wood to cook, hand tools, etc. were used before the installation of electrical distribution lines. In the early days of electricity, if rural areas wanted electricity, the community needed to come together to form a cooperative. Municipals would not expand to the rural areas because of the cost and the rate of return. Municipals were (and still are) for profit, and the expense of providing electricity to rural America would not be profitable to them.

If rural America wanted electricity, the rural community needed to come together and make it happen. Under the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, the Cooperative was formed. Rural America could now experience the same comfort and conveniences as those in urban areas. With the flip of a switch or the turning of a knob, lights now came on, stove tops heated up, washing machines agitated and the list goes on.

In my opinion, this adds value to electricity without considering the cost. In saying this you might be thinking “this may be true, but how do I measure this value you are writing about?” If electricity is sold in kilowatt hours (kWh), what do I get for one kWh purchased?

With “kilo” meaning 1,000 and electrical equipment or appliances measured in watts, you need to divide the appliance consumption listed on the placard by 1,000 to get kW consumed. (For instance) you have your dehumidifier set on 400 watts, by dividing that 400 watts by 1,000 tells you that the dehumidifier is using 0.4 kWh per hour. At the general service rate mentioned earlier, the cost of operation equates to $0.04996 ($.05) per hour. This may seem low, but one also needs to take in account the number of hours per month the dehumidifier runs and if that setting is change to a higher wattage.

As members, we are our own energy managers, and the more we understand energy the better we can control our consumption. Do we need that air conditioner set on high consuming 1,500 watts per hour, or can we set it on medium or even on low, consuming 800 watts instead? Do we need that electric heater turned on high or could we set it on a lower setting and put on a sweater? The point I’m trying to make is; we are our own energy managers. Whether one wants to conserve or consume energy is up to each member.

The costs of electricity shown within the ads throughout this article are slightly lower than that of North Itasca Electric’s rates but are very close and place into perspective a measurement of value. If you would like to learn more on energy efficiency and consumption, North Itasca Electric is here to help you.