As we close out 2021 and look ahead to the new year, we can’t help but reflect on the storms of life we have all faced and overcome. Amidst the pandemic, February 2021 brought winter storm Uri—the polar vortex. In one short week, electric utilities across Oklahoma were strained more than ever before. Life-threatening, sub-zero temperatures, historically high natural gas prices, and an unprecedented energy demand tested the reliability and resolve of the cooperative system. We are grateful to have avoided the rolling blackouts many utilities experienced. We are appreciative of the responsiveness and action taken immediately by our membership to conserve energy when asked.
In the business of providing electricity, all kinds of storms make our job extra challenging, and storms come in all shapes and sizes. Since winter storm Uri, we have been carefully monitoring the rising fuel prices that have continued to plague our purchased power cost each month. Because natural gas makes up a large part of the fuel used to generate the power that flows to your home or business, the increased fuel cost, along with the cost to deliver the power, are directly influencing the rising Power Cost Adjustment (PCA) factor you see each month on your electric bill.
It took some time for the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) to reconcile the total impact of the polar vortex. Coupled with the already planned recovery costs for winter storm Uri and the continued higher natural gas market, utilities nationwide are entering winter with the highest fuel prices experienced in over 10 years for gas and electric markets.
Just as we urged you during the polar vortex to put energy conservation at the forefront of your daily life, we are asking you once again to prepare for continued storms ahead—whether it be the uncontrolled forces of nature or the rising prices we are facing to deliver your power. We encourage you to find ways to reduce consumption to minimize the impact of rising costs as much as possible inside your own home or business.
People's Electric Cooperative (PEC) remains committed to doing everything possible to minimize the impact felt by its members from rising fuel prices on the cost of producing electricity; however, it appears we have not seen the last of record-breaking high prices for the cost of fuel. In the midst of so many unknowns, our staff would like to remind you that we care about our members, and we continue to be here to ride out the storm at hand.
Please consider utilizing our SmartHub mobile app for reporting outages, paying your bill, or monitoring your energy usage. Remember great programs, such as our Average Billing Program (AMP), make your bills more predictable and monthly budgeting easier. You can engage with us directly by calling (580) 332-3031 during regular office hours Monday thru Friday, 8 am. to 5 p.m., or stopping by our offices located at 1600 North Country Club Road in Ada. You can also find valuable information online at our website, along with our most up-to-date information on PEC’s social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter). And continue to report outages via our outage number (580) 272-1500, 24 hours/day, 7 days/week.
Together we will weather the storm, whether today’s or in the future.
Executive VP & CEO