Electric Cooperative customers setting new peaks in power consumption

Little Rock - Arkansas electric cooperatives are setting new peaks for power consumption this winter.{}{}

AEC says its customers are experiencing some of the coldest temperatures in 20 years, and higher-than-normal usage results in higher-than-normal bills.{} AEC says this year higher prices in the natural gas market have added to the burden on consumers.

"The cold weather and increasing demand has caused natural gas prices to jump 18 percent in the last month and approximately 47 percent in the past year," said Duane Highley, president and CEO of the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas.

"Natural gas that was priced at $4 per million BTU not quite a year ago was recently offered for electric generation in Arkansas at almost $40 per million BTU. This represents a 1,000 percent increase, which is unimaginable."

Highley said that the level of coal-based generation in Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation's (AECC) generation resources protected electric cooperative members from the full effect of the spike in natural gas prices.