A Message from your CEO
MCEC – Your Community Partner in Power and Progress
Mid-Carolina Electric was formed in 1940 to serve the rural areas of our community as a not for profit electric utility. Investor owned power companies at this time had deemed that because there were so few customers in these areas, it would not be profitable to provide service. The only way to power these rural communities was if people partnered together – to provide much needed electricity with less emphasis on making a profit. Today, MCEC maintains over 4,200 miles of line in five counties and serves 55,484 member accounts with 139 full time employees. While our communities have certainly grown through the years, we still serve far fewer people per mile of line than investor owned utilities. While some areas are more populated than others, to operate an electric utility with this few customers across this expanse of power lines, we must always be mindful to do everything we can to manage costs and save our members money.
MCEC is a distribution utility meaning we purchase our power through a wholesale contract with Central Electric Power Cooperative. Our power bill is the largest cost we have with nearly 70% of the revenues we collect from you, our members, going towards this expense. The remaining 30% is used to build and maintain the power lines throughout our system and cover all operating expenses such as billing, metering, customer service, and right of way clearing. On occasion, we also deal with major storm events as was the case with Hurricane Irma last month.
We are always looking for ways to allow our members more control over their individual power bill while helping lower our collective costs through lowered demand on the grid for the cooperative. The On-Peak rate structure introduced in 2016 was implemented for this very purpose – to give you the ability to control your costs. Remember as a cooperative, we purchase power and are charged different costs for power depending on the time of day. The On-Peak rate allows members to shift some of their energy use outside of the three hour time frame to save themselves on their power bill. The rate is not in place to tell members to not use power, but rather it provides a way for us to recover costs more equitably. When members choose to shift energy use, we create less demand on the power grid during critical times allowing the cooperative to save as well. In 2016 our members helped us pay over $3 million less on our power bill – meaning as a membership, you saved that same amount as well.
We were established as and remain your local member-owned electric utility – your partner in power and progress. Every decision we make is made with you, our membership in mind . . . and that means being a good steward of your costs. We understand that electricity is essential to life and our goal is to provide that each and every day in a safe, reliable, and cost effective manner for the members of Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative.
Are You Saving Money with On-Peak? Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative members have saved over $3 million with our On-Peak rate structure and we want to ensure you are equipped to maximize your results! As we have met with members just like you, we want to remind you of three big hints to help you save on your monthly bill— it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!
1. When possible, operate your dryer or another large use appliance beyond the On-Peak hours. Members have shared that by shifting dryer use away from On-Peak—either before or after the three hour window, they have saved money. They still do their normal routines, but are more mindful to not have large use appliances running all at once.
2. Install a programmable thermostat for your HVAC or a timer for your water heater. Out of sight, out of mind—installing devices that control times of use can help you save. A properly programmed thermostat for your HVAC or a water heater timer available at any home improvement store will pay for themselves quickly not only in the savings but also by taking that task off your mind.
3. Pre-heat your home before On-Peak hours. By simply pre-heating your home prior to On-Peak hours, you will take advantage of less expensive energy to make your home comfortable—program your thermostats and timers to resume normal use after the three hour On-Peak window has passed. Avoid cutting your heat off at night in the winter, a common practice for many as turning it back on when you awake can cause you to consume more energy during the most expensive time frame. For comfort and convenience, thermostats and timers have proven very helpful for our members.
Why would I do these things? It takes time to re-think energy habits we have been accustomed to—but you can still act in different ways to save money on your power bills. Remember, your cooperative is a not-for-profit distribution utility meaning we purchase power and then provide this service to each of our members. Energy costs are most expensive for MCEC when we purchase power for you during the seasonal three hour window we describe as On-Peak—as a member your corresponding costs mirror your usage habits. So what from your past individual usage habits can you perhaps shift to save money? We are not asking members to not use power during On-Peak . . . but rather be proactive with what you are running and when.
Let us help! We will be glad to partner with you to examine how you can take advantage of these savings. Please contact Member Services at 803-749-6400 or email us at MemberService@mcecoop.com to see how we can help you save. Keep these hints as a handy reference for future savings!