Did you know that you are an owner of Broad River Electric? Here’s a bit of history to help illustrate what that means. Broad River Electric was organized like many other electric cooperatives across South Carolina to bring power to rural communities at a time when for-profit energy providers primarily served only densely populated areas.
The way electricity companies saw it, operating a grid that powered thousands of paying customers in a condensed urban area was more profitable than supplying power in a larger geographic area with fewer customers. But that didn’t mean rural folks didn’t have the same electricity needs as their urban- dwelling counterparts.
That’s why electric cooperatives were created in rural places across the United States by citizens who came together to pool their resources and share the costs and decision-making duties associated with operating their power distribution system.
Essentially, electric cooperatives are just neighbors serving neighbors. You are a fellow member-owner of Broad River Electric, not a customer. Perhaps that’s why electric cooperative members are generally more satisfied with their service than those who get their power from investor-owned or municipal/ publicly owned utilities.
Today, Broad River Electric is one of 20 electric cooperatives in South Carolina. To keep costs as low as possible for our members, we buy power as a group from Central Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. (CEPCI), our generation and transmission provider.
So, Broad River Electric has meters and receives a bill just like you. As you might imagine, the bottom line is larger than the one we send you, but it does have two of the key components that you see on your bill—a power grid access fee referred to as a “facility charge” and a usage fee.
We pay a fixed charge at each of our substations to access the power grid. This covers metering, communications and other items that are not dependent on the amount of power we buy to deliver to you. We also pay for the energy we deliver to you, as well as the energy we use on our own system. This energy use is measured in kilowatt-hours.
One difference between our power bill and the one we send to most members is that we also pay a demand charge. Our demand charge is calculated based on the single hour of the month when the overall electric system is peaking.
Every month, CEPCI analyzes each hour of the month to determine when that peak occurred. Once that hour is known, they bill each cooperative, Broad River included, for its demand during the peak hour.
Approximating when demand might peak is not difficult. During summer months, the peak is almost always between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. In winter months, the peak is typically between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. If you’re wondering why, it is because peak demand is usually driven by members using their HVAC systems.
The reason this matters to you is that you can take action that helps us save on our power bill—savings that are then passed on to you. You can help Broad River Electric by installing a smart thermostat and delaying the use of major appliances during peak times. Remember, as a member-owned cooperative, our savings are your savings.
Happy holidays from your co-op!
Broad River Electric Cooperative wishes you and your family a happy holiday season. We hope the lights of the season will fill you with warmth and a joyous spirit.
Broad River's office will be closed to celebrate the following holidays:
- Thanksgiving—Thursday Nov. 23 and Friday Nov. 24
- Christmas—Monday, Dec. 25 and Tuesday Dec. 26
- New Year’s—Monday, Jan. 1, 2024