Power in your hands
Co-ops are working to increase reliability and help members manage their costs
Think about your routine this morning. Perhaps you woke up to the “ding!” of an alarm clock and then checked the weather on your computer. Maybe you made coffee, threw laundry in the dryer or unplugged your fully-charged cell phone before walking out the door.
Now think back to the 1930s, before many rural areas had electricity. The crow of a rooster roused you from sleep, and you checked the weather by opening a window. You read by the glow of a gas lamp, and your kitchen counter displayed ceramics full of flour, sugar and coffee, not a microwave, toaster and electric can opener.
Affordable electricity has led to big improvements in our quality of life. The convenience of electric lights in the home — let alone dishwashers, clothes dryers and computers — was only a dream a century ago.
These days, we’re more dependent on gadgets to power our lives and businesses, and we have access to information like never before. Modernized grid technology, increased awareness of efficiency and advances in mobile and web applications give consumers new ways to be more aware of energy use and more informed about the way they use it.
Electric utilities must rise to the challenge not only to power consumers’ lifestyles with a reliable supply of energy, but also to empower consumers to manage their energy use. North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are investing in technology that will increase reliability and provide new tools for energy-consumption management. By using these tools, cooperative members will better understand how their demand for energy corresponds to the cooperative’s supply of energy, empowering members to make informed decisions about when to use certain energy-intensive appliances, like the clothes dryer. This knowledge, and subsequent behavioral changes, could help slow down the inevitable rise of electricity costs.
Your cooperative is working to meet your needs by increasing reliability and providing new tools to help you keep your electric bills low. Here’s how:
The job of your electric cooperative is to make electricity available on demand, 24 hours a day, and to supply it in the most cost-effective way. In this “plugged-in” era, consumers and businesses do not want service interruptions.
With enhanced grid technology, utilities will be able to prevent outages by identifying and correcting problems before they happen. Utilities can also monitor the system better and reduce the number of spikes, blinks and surges — which means even better service for you.
The power is in your hands
What if you could go online and see the drastic spike in energy use when your clothes dryer is run? Or by tapping your cell phone screen, show your kids it costs an extra $10 a month when they leave the lights on?
A recent survey conducted by TSE Services, a North Carolina electric cooperative market research group, showed that more than 80 percent of electric co-op members have access to the Internet at home. More than 40 percent have “smart” phones with Internet connectivity, and among 18–34 year-olds, 75 percent have Internet-capable phones.
North Carolina’s electric cooperatives recognize that customers are relying more on mobile and online technologies. Many are rolling out websites and apps to help members manage payments, report account and service issues, check usage and receive special messaging, all at the touch of a button. Some of these state-of-the-art programs can provide monthly, daily, even hourly snapshots of energy use.
Smart phones and enhanced grid technology are revolutionizing the way we access information; however these technologies are still relatively new and are constantly evolving. Contact your cooperative to see what is available in your area.
Your electric cooperative is proud of its reliability record and is committed to helping members manage their costs. As technology evolves, you can be sure North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are working to meet members’ changing needs by providing state-of-the-art tools to help you better understand and manage energy use — and in turn, keep your energy bills low.