As Temps Rise, SVEC Eyes Keeping Cost Low

Officials Asking Members To Curb Energy Use During Peak Hours

Posted: July 19, 2013

Clark Robertson, 9, of Harrisonburg, leaps from a rock into Dry River at Riven Rock Park west of the city on Tuesday. Temperatures in the Central Shenandoah Valley have hung around 90 for the past several days and are expected to stay there through Saturday. (Photo by Michael Reilly / DN-R)
HARRISONBURG — With a heat wave hovering over the Valley, people are turning up their air conditioners and consuming extra electricity. The Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative is asking its members to hold back.

Curtailing energy use during peak hours, between 3 and 8 p.m., will keep individual bills lower and hinder possible future rate increases, said Mike Aulgur, spokesman for the Mount Crawford-based SVEC.

“We’re after a collective effort for our members to conserve however they can,” he said.

A collective effort is important because SVEC’s member bills combined represent power it buys from the cooperative’s wholesaler, Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, Aulgur said.

As individual consumers use more electricity, ODEC kicks on tiers of facilities: base load, intermediate and peaking, Aulgur said.
Peaking facilities are the last in the line, and the most expensive.

“When we set a peak, that sets the highest price for the electricity that we purchase,” Aulgur said. “If we can shave that peak and not make that peak as high ... we’re not going to pay that higher price collectively.”

And a lower cost collectively is a lower cost individually, he said.

While consumers won’t necessarily feel the extra heat on their next utility bill, they’ll eventually get a bump because costs are passed on to members, Aulgur said.

Curtailing energy use can be as easy as turning the AC thermostat up a few degrees and waiting until after peak times to do dishes or laundry.

SVEC serves more than 90,000 member/owners in Augusta, Clarke, Frederick, Highland, Page, Rockingham, Shenandoah and Warren counties.

Contact Alex Rohr at 574-6293 or

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