Tri-County Electric Cooperative (TEC) encouraged members to "power down" in June. This month we're asking you to do the "summer shift."

Why would we want you to reduce your electric use? We are a cooperative, owned by members. Our goal is to make sure that when you flip a switch, electricity is there and it is affordable. Three major factors affect the price of electricity: the price of fuel to generate power, the cost to comply with environmental regulations and the demand for power.

TEC's wholesale electricity provider created a rate structure to reflect cost savings for using less electricity during high demand times. There isn't an energy shortage. It simply costs a lot more for electricity when demand is high because all available resources must be used to generate power, not just the most economic resources. Just under 70 percent of TEC's operating budget goes towards purchasing wholesale power. Avoiding demand times is a significant cost saving measure.

TEC members, along with our wholesale power members (cities of Caledonia, Eitzen, Harmony, Lanesboro, Mabel, Rushford, Spring Grove, Peterson and Whalan), can help keep electric rates affordable by either conserving energy or shifting the time of electric use this summer.

During June, July and August, this region's power costs are highest Monday through Friday between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. What can you do to help? To start, try delaying the dishwasher, turning up the thermostat and shifting the start of laundry. Also be conscientious of electric use for computers, TVs and gaming systems during this timeframe. And turn off any unneeded lights and electronics.

We have the potential to save hundreds of thousands of dollars by reducing electric use Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the summer, which means smaller and/or less frequent electric rate increases in the future.

Brian Krambeer,

President/CEO,

Tri-County Electric,

Rushford