In the most recent study by the United States Energy Information Administration, Arkansas ranks No. 2 (tied with Idaho) for the lowest cost of electricity across all sectors. When compared to the national average for electricity costs, a typical Arkansas household saves over $400 per year. Only one state ranks lower in cost than Arkansas, and that’s our neighbor, Louisiana.
As a cooperative member, the largest part of your bill, a little over half, goes to pay for the energy from a balanced, low-cost mix of resources — wind, solar, hydroelectric, biomass, gas and coal. That diverse resource mix helps keep rates stable, allowing us to shift to the lowest cost option as it becomes available. In Arkansas, we also participate in two regional power markets that conduct a virtual auction every five minutes to match us with the cheapest power from across 18 states and one Canadian province. Being able to draw from such a large region provides more diversity of supply and helps to protect us from price spikes.
Some say that you have to choose between low-cost energy or clean energy, but that’s no longer the case. We are continuing to add more non-fossil resources to our portfolio every year, and now 1 in 5 of your kilowatt-hours is sourced from wind, solar, hydroelectric or biomass. With the addition of our 800-acre, 100-megawatt solar farm that will go online in 2021, that number will continue to increase, without increasing your electric bill. More diversity, plus living in one of the lowest-cost energy states in the nation, is a winning combination.
As we look into the new year, we are confident that our affordable, reliable, increasingly diverse resource mix will keep us near the top of the low-cost list. That’s good for the environment, good for industry, good for jobs and good for our household budgets — just another example of the cooperative way!