Imported Energy Means Raising Prices for Virginia Ratepayers
Although not much ground was gained for renewable energy during the 2016 Virginia General Assembly, now is the time to begin making your voice heard! By letting your representatives know early and often that we demand cheaper, safer and more reliable energy in the Commonwealth, we can make sure that we aren’t left any further behind other states that are already way ahead of Virginia with renewables.
In addition, renewable energy options would alleviate Virginia’s current need to buy energy from outside the state. Here’s what you need to know about the current energy mix:
Virginia Faces an Energy Deficit
In 2013, the most recent year with complete information available from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Virginia consumed 107,794,985 MWh of electricity. Of this, only 70,739,235 MWh, or about two-thirds, was generated within the Commonwealth. What’s more, most of the energy purchased was to make up Virginia’s deficit during “on-peak” times, such as on a hot summer day when our air conditioners are working overtime.
What Does This Mean?
When utilities are forced to purchase energy during these on-peak times of high demand, it is far more expensive than during “off-peak” times when demand for energy is much lower. For example, in 2015, utilities in Virginia saw these on-peak prices reach over 27 cents/kWh. Because utilities are obligated to provide us with electricity around the clock, they pay this exorbitant rate and then pass the costs along to us, the ratepayers. However, this doesn’t have to be the case…
I Want Cheaper Electricity, What Can I Do About it?
In order to avoid these unnecessary costs and lower rates for consumers, Virginia utilities must be able to generate enough electricity in state to meet on-peak consumer demand, rather than purchasing electricity from utilities far away. The most effective way for utilities to do this is by growing renewable energy.
While nuclear power is unsafe and the price for uranium, coal, and gas is only projected to increase over time, the price for sources of renewable energy – the wind and sun – will always be zero! Even in the short term, Virginia utilities admit that solar energy is one of the most economic options and would save customers money on their electric bills!