It’s no surprise that your electric costs are on the rise. According to the Maine Public Utilities Commission, Central Maine Power (CMP) rates increased by a whopping 44.9% between 2017 and 2022 alone. With rates climbing out of control, bills are higher and it can feel frustrating. Your month-over-month and year-over-year usage might remain steady, but your bill just keeps going up. You have tried keeping your usage low, turning off lights and unplugging appliances when they are not in use, but nothing seems to curb your costs. Or maybe you added a heat pump or EV charging station to your property and expected a jump in your usage, but the increase in your bill seems disproportionately high.
So why do electric costs seem to rise faster than other bills? And are there ways to rein them in? First, let’s look at why electric prices fluctuate to begin with.
What Causes Electric Prices to Fluctuate?
Energy companies like CMP produce the same electricity day after day and year after year, so it can be frustrating when the cost of your electricity goes up for no obvious reason.
In reality, many factors outside of your control drive up the cost you pay for electricity from a company. Electricity providers’ decisions about their bottom lines are a common cause of rate increases. In fact, in 2020, CMP requested and was approved for the rate hikes we have recently experienced, arguing that five storms at the time impacted their revenue.
The electric companies are not entirely to blame, however. Factors like inflation, war, and mass health events like the COVID pandemic can cause labor shortages that impact companies’ ability to meet their demand. Weather-related damage to grid infrastructure can also impact their ability to generate power, driving your costs higher.
This unpredictability puts homeowners and businesses at risk of receiving large bills they may not be expecting, and the problem is only expected to worsen as time passes. So what can you do to gain more control over your energy costs?
Net Metering: Your Energy Bill Safety Net
Owning your own solar electric system is the best way to achieve energy independence and stabilize your monthly electric bill. Switching to solar not only means you are generating your own electricity, allowing you to break away from the electric company’s rising rates. It also stabilizes and lowers your energy costs over time because the cost of your system is locked in at the price you agree to upon installation, no matter how the energy market fluctuates. After the cost of the system, all you will pay is your monthly service fee of around $15, significantly reducing your reliance on the electricity company.
Individual solar electricity systems generate their own energy instead of tapping into the grid’s supply when the sun is shining and are not subject to fluctuating pricing. Any excess electricity your system generates that you don’t immediately use is credited to your electric bill through a process called net metering.
Net metering credits are great for Mainers because during the darker winter months or cloudy days, you can apply those credits that you earned during the sunnier months towards your electric bill. If your system is designed to cover your full energy usage, your credits can be applied to bills throughout the year to help you drastically lower or completely eliminate your costs. This makes installing your own solar system a great way to ensure your monthly bills are predictable.
Short-and Long-Term Value of Solar
The value of installing a solar electric system goes beyond the peace of mind of lowering your reliance on an electric company. Stable monthly payments, thanks to net metering credits, also allow you to plan and budget more confidently beginning the very first month you own your new system.
It’s also important to keep in mind that today’s high electricity prices could seem low by comparison in just a few short years. The United States Energy Information Association reports that U.S. electricity prices have risen about 21% over the past ten years and are expected to continue climbing. Generating your own power for decades frees you from both today’s high prices and tomorrow’s even higher ones.
Solar Energy’s Measurable Return On Investment
Savings from stabilizing your energy bills can add up more quickly than you might think. A typical home solar system generates enough power to pay for itself in the first 7-10 years of its 25-year+ warrantied lifetime.
Once the system has paid for itself, all the electricity you generate is essentially free. This translates to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings for the typical household system.
Getting Started with Solar
As you can see, there are several compelling financial reasons to make the switch to your own solar electricity system. Not only does solar energy free you from the unpredictability of large electricity bills, but it also saves you thousands during the course of its very long lifetime.
If you are interested in learning more about installing a solar electricity system on your property? Maine Solar Solutions is here to help you every step of the way.
For more information about how solar electricity systems and net metering work and our free guide to going solar in Maine, please visit our Solar FAQ page. If you are ready to schedule a free site assessment, please contact us at [email protected], (207) 871-7191, or fill out the form below.