CEO’s Message – March 2023

Peaks and valleys

Les Moreland headshot
In the Wiregrass, we’re prepared to handle all kinds of severe weather. Extreme heat is almost second nature, tornadoes are not uncommon and we’re even accustomed to weathering a hurricane here and there. But one condition we don’t regularly face is extreme cold.

We certainly had a good freeze at the end of last year, including some of the coldest temperatures in recent memory hitting right around Christmas. It was a time to gather with family and stay warm. And based on our electric demand here at Wiregrass Electric, it seems like that’s exactly what many of our members did.

December 24 set a record peak demand. Our electric system is built to handle those periods of highest usage. But when that peak demand goes up, so does the cost of making sure our system is always ready to handle that load.

That’s why it’s important for our members to manage their energy usage, even during extreme conditions. It can be tempting to assume that if we leave our thermostat at the same setting throughout the year our heating and cooling costs will remain steady. But the truth is that your home’s systems must work harder to maintain the same temperature during the hottest and coldest months. That requires more energy.

Fortunately, Wiregrass Electric has a variety of tools to help you save money before peak demand hits. Just visit the Energy Conservation tab at our website to find a variety of helpful tips for making your home’s windows, insulation, landscaping, kitchen and more as efficient as possible.

Also, tools like the appliance and lighting calculators can recommend money-saving strategies, and you can learn how to perform your own energy audit or schedule a visit from a professional. When you’re ready to make upgrades, be sure to check the rebate programs and energy efficiency loans available through the cooperative.

The wholesale power cost adjustment is another tool WEC offers to help keep your energy bill stable. This item, which you may have noticed on your bill, accounts for the cost of fuel above or below the current rate of electricity. To put it simply, when fuel costs are up, the wholesale power cost adjustment is an additional charge on your bill. But when it’s down, it appears as a credit on your bill.

Not every cooperative has this adjustment. We, however, believe it is a powerful tool for keeping your bill steady even when fuel costs are volatile. This adjustment has also allowed us to return millions of dollars to members in addition to capital credits.

If you tuned in to our annual meeting, you might have seen me sharing some numbers on how the power cost adjustment has changed over the years. I also spoke to members about the state of our cooperative, which continues to be in strong financial shape. We are a very lean operation for a cooperative of our size, and smart planning has allowed us to weather recent challenges like volatile natural gas prices without having to put an undue burden on our members.

For those of you who weren’t able to watch the meeting, I encourage you to take some time to watch the video, which is available in the Video section of our Facebook page. You can rest assured that no matter what challenges may lie ahead, whether storms or extreme temperatures, we will find new ways to ensure our members have the affordable and reliable service you deserve.

Les Moreland
CEO Wiregrass Electric Cooperative