by Kerri Klatt, Managing Editor
If the air temperature is too high, a mobile phone’s high temperature protection mechanism will be triggered. This trigger will cause your cell phone to shut down. The equipment that maintains the power of the counties is no different. “The system is energized during the summer because all electrical equipment, whether in your home or elsewhere, is heat sensitive,” said Michael Ivey, general manager of the Crisp County Power Commission. A bit like when the cell phone overheats. “Usually summer is our worst with capacity constraint issues,” Ivey said, “and what the equipment can handle, and that’s why our costs are going up.” There are many reasons why county electricity rates increase during the summer season. These reasons include the cost of generators are more expensive, equipment is under more stress, and capacity constraints are increased during the summer season.
The Crisp County Power Commission serves the county with approximately 9,000 residential customers and 3,000 commercial customers with an estimated population of 23,000. “We can put more load on the equipment in the winter because the outside air helps cool the equipment and so we can deliver more power with less equipment,” Ivey said, “and with the summer , it is reversed.” Generators used during the summer season also cost more to maintain and operate. “These are the expensive fuel units,” Ivey said, “and so these cost more.” The equipment is also in greater demand during the summer season. “As it gets warmer, more and more equipment is needed to supply the electricity,” Ivey said, “even the same amount of electricity that is delivered in the winter, so the costs of purchase are higher in the summer.” Capacity constraints are also increased. “The system is fully utilized during the summer,” Ivey said, “and that’s when the expense happens.” Electricity rate increases are similar to gasoline price increases across the United States. “It’s like anything that’s in high demand,” Ivey said, “it costs more, and that’s what we see here in the summer.” According to the 2021 Georgia Public Service Commission residential rate survey, Georgia Power Company’s charge was $65.76 with $0.1315 cents/kWh, CC Power’s charge Company were $61.68 with $0.1234 cents/kWh and Sumter Electric Membership Corporation charges were $77.41 with $0.1548 cents. /kWh. The kilowatt hour is the unit of energy equal to the energy consumed in the circuit at the rate of 1 kilowatt for 1 hour and serves as a measure of electrical energy.
There are several options for county residents who wish to lower their electricity rates in the summer. For example, there is a residential rate for seniors where, if the account holder meets the qualifications of a low-income household, that resident may be exempt from the base rate. Another available option includes prepaid metering, which can help save energy used by allowing its customers to monitor usage and can be displayed at 15 minute intervals. This gives customers the flexibility to see how the usage pattern correlates over time and temperature and can be used to make an effort to reduce usage and conserve. The Power Commission also offers home audit services that citizens can use to measure usage. The audit lists initiations residents can take to proactively reduce usage. An example is to use a fan to circulate the air. “Circulating the air,” Ivey said, “will help you feel cooler and can lower body temperature by as much as three degrees.” Other initiatives include:
* Keep windows covered to block the sun
*Regularly replace air conditioner filters
* Make sure the house is well insulated
*Make sure the water heater is working properly and is serviced to ensure the water is not constantly being heated
*Ensure contact on sinks is correct and maintained, as well as checking for leaky toilets. A leaking toilet will trigger the sink to constantly turn on and off, generating energy.
“We have a list of these things as part of our energy audit,” Ivey said. Options for residents to take proactive action can be used and easily accessed. For more information, individuals may visit the Crisp County Power Commission’s website at: www.crispcountypower.com. Individuals can monitor usage by using the online portal, the free mobile app, or by contacting customer service at: 229-273-3811.