Reducing energy consumption at home has a direct, obvious and positive effect on your monthly electric bill, but it also plays an important role in reducing the need to build costly new generation facilities. And that helps keep everyone’s monthly bill affordable.
From the time the utility industry was born, America has experienced rapid development and growth. Much of that progress has been powered by electricity. In the past, there were relatively few barriers to keeping up with consumer demand. Fuel for electric generation was plentiful and cheap.
Infrastructure, such as power generation plants and transmission lines, were not terribly difficult to plan. Since building infrastructure and producing electricity were relatively cheap and easy, little thought was given to energy efficiency in the home or business as a serious part of the supply solution.
While not widely publicized, the utility industry’s army of engineers has made dramatic improvements in the efficiency of their generating stations and overall operations. From the plant all the way to the‘smart meter,’ delivering electricity is a better, cleaner system than it used to be. The industry continues to make improvements, and there are promising technologies on the horizon. These changes will have a huge impact on the supply side, but they won’t be enough to meet demand growth on their own.
Keeping up with demand is getting difficult on the supply side for a number of reasons. Traditional fossil fuels are under attack for their carbon emissions. Nuclear power, while carbon free, has its own set of problems. Renewable generation options are still expensive and have limited availability during peak periods. Planning the location of future transmission facilities to get that power onto the grid can often be difficult. Something has to give – and soon – on the supply side.
It makes sense
Given all of these barriers, it makes sense to work to reduce the growth of energy consumption. The best energy-efficiency programs are designed to shape usage patterns.
In every edition of South Carolina Living we deliver to our members, we include good, power-saving suggestions that can help you lower your monthly electric bill. If you missed last month’s edition, then you missed the special 101 Low-Cost/No-Cost Home Energy- Saving Measures for South Carolina booklet we inserted. No worries, though. You can access the booklet online at horryelectric.com or drop by our office for a copy.
By managing your energy use, you are also helping with the supply side of the equation. We’re doing our part by proposing a federal Rural Energy Savings Program, which would help control power bills and, as an added benefit for all of us, open up thousands of clean-energy jobs.
Keep reading South Carolina Living and visit us online for the latest on little changes you can make that can add up to big savings in demand and help reduce peak consumption.
Want to monitor your individual use? Try MyUsage.com, FREE to members of Horry Electric Cooperative, Inc.