Northern Electric Cooperative’s electric heat rate will help members avoid dramatic increases in heating costs this winter. According to a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) it could cost up to 50 percent more to heat a home with natural gas or propane this winter due to rising commodity prices. The cost to heat with electricity will only rise between six and 15 percent according to the same report.
The cost for Northern Electric members who take advantage of the co-op’s electric heat rate, however, will remain stable this winter. Northern Electric members who have a separate meter – or submeter – calculating their electric heat use are charged 4.7 cents per kilowatt hour throughout the winter to heat their homes and shops. The normal residential energy charge is 9.3 cents. That means members who have electric heat connected to a submeter pay half the normal rate when they are heating their homes.
“The heat rate encourages responsible use of electric heat and keeps costs low for our consumers during the coldest months of the year,” Northern Electric CEO/General Manager Char Hager said.
To qualify for the electric heat rate members must call the Northern Electric office at 605-225-0310 and talk with a member services representative. The member services representative will review the member’s account and possibly stop out at their service location to ensure that the proper metering setup and rates are being implemented on the account. There is no charge to investigate and install a submeter, but there is a $3 per month charge to maintain a submeter at a home, farm, or business.
Members can also keep a close eye on their accounts throughout the winter months by signing up for SmartHub – an online account management tool available to Northern Electric members. Northern Electric members can use SmartHub to pay their bills online, set up automatic payments, view their daily electric use, and compare their use to previous months and years. To sign up for SmartHub members simply need to go to www.northernelectric.coop and click the ‘new user’ link in the SmartHub login box on the top of the homepage.
Taking steps to set up the proper metering for electric heat and regular monitoring of electric use can help Northern Electric members manage their heating costs and avoid the volatile price swings that are predicted for the upcoming winter.