Natural Gas Keeping
Power Prices High
WE ALL KNOW HOW IT GOES in Texas: When the summer temperatures start to soar, the power bill often follows. Running the air conditioner comes with a price, and we can only do our best to soften the blow—keeping the front door closed, fans on and the stove off.
But this year, forces beyond any of us are poised to make summer electric bills even worse.
You may have already noticed that the price you pay for power has gone up. Hamilton County Electric Cooperative didn’t raise our rates, but the runaway cost of natural gas is having a nasty effect on electric bills across Texas. The cost your co-op pays for wholesale power has been much higher this year, and there’s no relief on the horizon.
Since the winter storm in February 2021 that impacted most of our state’s grid, prices for natural gas—which fuels about half of Texas’ power generation—have risen sharply. Natural gas cost an average of $1.91 per million Btu in February 2020 but $4.69 in February of this year—nearly 2.5 times higher. The Energy Information Administration expects those prices to stay north of $3.50 through 2023.
That means most electric generation and transmission providers are paying far more to generate power costs that get passed along to Hamilton County EC and that we unfortunately must pass along to our members. We do that through the power cost recovery factor that’s built into your bill.
Don’t get me wrong: We’re not happy about this either. Some distribution co-ops are paying as much as 90% more for wholesale power, a frustrating reality that co-ops unfortunately have no control over. All of your cooperative’s directors and most of its employees, like me, are members of the co-op. Our power bills are impacted by this, too.
As a nonprofit electric cooperative, none of this extra money goes to the co-op; it passes right through to our power provider. The power cost recovery factor on your bill simply ensures that we can continue to pay our bills and provide power to homes and businesses.
We know times are hard right now, and this is the last thing you want to hear as the summer months start to heat up. Everything costs more these days.
But the old math still applies: Less power still costs less. With increased vigilance this summer, you can stay ahead of these increased costs.
For more help with conservation tools and tips, visit texascooppower.com/energy. Every kilowatt saved helps—now more than ever.
By working together as friends, neighbors and colleagues, we’ve made it through some challenging times over the past couple of years. We’ll get through this, too.