There’s comfort in convenience. After mowing, it’s nice to walk into your cool home. As the ravenous kids arrive home after soccer practice, it’s easy to toss a snack into the microwave. When your teenager is out late, it’s comforting to leave a light on to guide her home.

We don’t even pause to think about these things anymore, because the power is just there. We just flip the switch and enjoy the comfort and convenience of our highly plugged-in lifestyles.

I just want to remind you that comfort and convenience come at a cost.

Your electricity is much more than the energy delivered to your home; that’s just the commodity piece. We measure your consumption and collect the related costs through your Energy Charge and Power Cost Adjustment. We then turn around and send that money back out to pay our generation and transmission partners.

Behind the actual commodity is a massive system designed to make sure you have electricity at the flip of a switch. In any given billing cycle you may use 100 kilowatt-hours (kWh) or you may use 2000 kWh. Regardless of how much or how little you use, the system must be in place 24/7 so you can call on it when needed. As your distribution cooperative, that’s our cost of doing business, and reflected in your Distribution Charge and Monthly Service Charge.

What does that include? It’s the cost and maintenance of all infrastructure in the field, including poles, wires, transformers, substations and everything else that plays a role in moving energy from the substation to your outlet. It’s everything related to having a vehicle ready to roll. It’s the men and women who work in the field, on the phones, and across the different departments everyday, and it’s the facilities that house those people. It’s hardware, software, office supplies, and everything else we need for our day-to-day operations on your behalf.

As your Utility of the Future, we’re making investments to provide you with a first-in-class experience today and into the future, and your board will continue to evaluate the most fair and appropriate way to recover those investments from the membership. Every dollar we spend is a dollar provided through our members, and we don’t take that lightly.

Electricity is comfort and convenience, and there’s a cost to that. But when you sit back and really think about what you get in exchange for your $4, $6 or $10 per day, I think you’ll agree that it remains one of the best values around.