More than Light: Electricity Powers Quality of Life

The Cooperative Advantage – September 2021 CCL CEO Article

By Jim Herron, MVEA CEO

Jim Herron, MVEA CEOThis month, Mountain View Electric Association will start promotions for the second part of our GO ELECTRIC! Outdoor Power Equipment Giveaway for two electric snow blowers. (See page 8.) The promotion is one way that we promote beneficial electrification—an expansion on the concept of energy efficiency, that includes the replacement of direct fossil fuel use (e.g., propane, natural gas, gasoline) with electricity in a way that reduces overall emissions, energy costs, AND benefits the end-user (in this case, electric co-op members). Rapidly evolving innovations in energy technologies, and the growing demand for beneficial electrification offerings, has created new ways to use electricity that were not possible 20 years ago.

It is not a stretch to say that electricity has an impact on virtually every aspect of our lives: lighting, heating, cooling, cooking, refrigeration, cleaning, washing, entertainment, communications, and transportation. Electricity has, for many of us, gone from a luxury commodity to a necessity and an expectation. We expect the lights to come on when we flip the switch, and we expect our power to stay on during the best and worst conditions. It is easy to take for granted, to forget, the value of electricity in powering our quality of life.

According to the Energy Information Agency, the typical U.S. household now uses more air conditioning, appliances, and consumer electronics than ever before. The average home also contains 10 or more internet-connected devices. Considering everything that is powered by electricity, it’s no wonder that we occasionally receive calls from members with questions about their energy use. From the infrastructure of your home — appliances, water heater, and HVAC system — to charging your smartphones, computers, TV, and Wi-Fi router, your monthly energy use is so much more than lighting.

Today, there is more demand for electricity than ever before. At home, in schools and businesses, and in commercial sectors such as transportation, the need for electricity is increasing. Typically, when demand goes up, so too does the price, as is the case with most goods or services, such as cable or even your favorite specialty coffee. However, that’s not true with electricity. And, that is not the case at MVEA as we celebrate four years without a residential rate increase.

In today’s world, you won’t find many items that cost less than $5. You can purchase a gallon of milk, a dozen eggs, a gallon of gas, or a burger off the menu at many fast-food chains. But did you know that an average day’s worth of electricity from MVEA costs less than $5? In fact, MVEA’s average residential member uses 937 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month at a cost of $4.53 a day.

Outside of MVEA’s rates, let’s take a look at how the value of electricity compares to other common expenses. Over the last five years, the cost of rent increased 3.4%; medical care increased 2.8%; and education increased 2.2%. But the cost of electricity only increased 1%. Considering all the ways we depend on electricity, it still remains a great value.

We care about you, the members we serve, and understand that electricity is more than a commodity—it’s a necessity. That’s why MVEA will continue working hard to power your life reliably and affordably.

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