Your Arkansas Valley bill should arrive at about the same time each month. The bill will clearly show your electric usage, measured in kilowatt-hours, as well as the amount you owe. The Cooperative gauges your usage by reading your electric meter each month. In some special instances from time to time, reading your meter may not be feasible. If this is the case, your usage will be estimated based on past usage levels and your bill will have wording to that effect.

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The “Availability” Charge

Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative’s availability charge represents your fixed monthly costs consisting of rights-of-way, power lines, and other maintenance and operative costs, including property taxes and other expenses associated with service to a member’s location. These costs occur regardless of the amount of energy purchased or sold. The Public Service Commission (PSC) generally requires that such “customer related costs” be identified and billed separately from the “energy-related” and “capacity costs”.

Previously, “customer-related” costs were averaged in the kWh charge. During the 1970’s energy shortage, utility companies were asked to restructure their consumer rates resulting in a change from “minimum bill” to “availability charge”.

Without this fixed charge, the kWh rate would be higher for all energy, and those using more kWh per month would be subsidizing those using less.

Availability charges among utilities may vary since there are different ideas on how to allocate fixed costs, but each has an availability or fixed charge.