High Fuel Costs Make for Expensive Winter - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro, AR--Brett Garrett Reports

High Fuel Costs Make for Expensive Winter

October 11th, 2005- Posted at 5:00 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR-- The price of gasoline may be slowly dropping but, what little saving you may see at the pump will be consumed by your home's winter electric bill.

"We anticipate in the next several months that it will continue to be a high cost because we are having to use natural gas to generate," said Wayne Honeycutt, President of Craighead Electric Cooperative.

An easy alternative fuel to natural gas is coal from Wyoming, a resource that has been hard to get ahold of.

"There are only two tracks that come from Wyoming to Arkansas and those tracks were down during the spring when where usually stockpile in the summer with coal and we haven't been able to get the coal," said Honeycutt.

That forces electric companies to use the more expensive natural gas.

"We have a base in our rate set and when the fuel cost exceeds that base then it is passed onto the consumer," said Honeycutt.

Craighead Electric customers can expect to see an approximately 20 percent hike in their electric bills this winter mainly picked up in a charge that used to be a credit.

"For the last two years in most cases every month you received a credit because we didn't use as much gas," said Honeycutt.

This energy cost adjustment used to be a 2 or 3 dollar credit and now makes up close to 20% of your bill. So how do you lower the cost in the winter months?

"One thing you might want to do is conserve energy on the local level, weatherstrip your home add insulation to your home and lowering your use between 5 and 7 p.m. If you put that off to outside of those hours it will help all of us statewide to lower the bill," said Honeycutt.

Conserve while you can because it could be a long winter. 

"I think it is going to increase from what our wholesaler supplier tells us it will probably be high in February and March," said Honeycutt.

Craighead Electric said that if you are having trouble paying your higher bill they will work with you to set up a payment plan.  

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