CEO Message — January 2019
I could have easily closed a pop-up ad I recently encountered, but the headline was troubling. The banner read, “Secrets your electric company doesn’t want you to know …”
I know better than to fall prey to click bait, but in the aftermath of Question 3, I’m unusually suspicious of propaganda against electric companies. Essentially, the ad claimed that your electric company doesn’t want you to install solar panels because it would cut into its profits.
While that claim may be true in some cases, it’s not true for your member-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperative. In fact, Wells Rural Electric Company (WREC) adopted a net metering policy long before such policies became an industry practice or were required by legislation.
WREC’s net metering policy enables members who generate less than 50 kiloWatts to offset their usage with electricity they produce. In rare cases where a member produces more electricity than they use, WREC will purchase the excess electricity at the wholesale rate.
Only eleven WREC members currently utilize the net metering policy. While I don’t know all of the reasons why there has been limited adoption of solar in our service area, I do know that our low cost for electricity yields a longer return on investment, and our access to clean, renewable hydroelectricity already provides the same environmental benefits.
As is often the case with technology, we will probably see more members install solar as the industry matures and the costs come down. However, it’s no secret that you can reduce your monthly bill, and you don’t have to wait until you can install solar panels. Start saving today with energy efficiency and conservation.
One of your employees likes to say, “Our best kept secrets have been published.” In the case of energy efficiency and conservation, we were promoting those well-established programs when I began my career 37 years ago.
Our programs have evolved over time, but the philosophy behind them has remained constant: WREC provides safe, reliable, clean and affordable electricity. Energy efficiency and conservation immediately reduce your individual usage. When adopted by many consumers, energy efficiency and conservation help keep wholesale prices affordable.
As I write this column, we are just a couple of days away from the winter solstice and the longest night of the year. Our use of electricity for light and heat often increases during long nights and cold days. While I don’t want to discourage anyone from enjoying the comfort and convenience of electricity, I do want you to get the most from your energy dollars.
Visit www.wrec.coop for a complete list of rebates available to qualifying members for installing energy efficient-lighting, appliances, windows and insulation. Even if you have taken advantage of WREC’s programs in the past, advancements in technology—especially in LED lighting—probably make it worthwhile to upgrade some of the devices around your home or business.
Best wishes for a bright and prosperous New Year!
Clay R. Fitch
Chief Executive Officer