As Utility Rates Rise Energy Conservation Becomes a Better Bargain

Utility rates rising, but so is energy efficiency

Argus Leader, November 22, 2014

The cost of lighting and heating your home is going up.

Fortunately, you’ve never had more power to do something about it.

Xcel Energy and MidAmerican Energy are both seeking permission from state regulators to increase the rates they charge Sioux Falls customers. Xcel Energy wants to raise its electricity rates by 8 percent, while MidAmerican is seeking an average 3.5 percent increase for natural gas customers.

They won’t be the last rate hikes, as utilities work to maintain and upgrade aging infrastructure, respond to new environmental regulations, and react to other local and global pressures that are pushing up the cost of delivering energy.

Meanwhile, though, the availability and affordability of energy saving products, from high-efficiency light bulbs to solar panels, has been improving at a historic pace. While many items and investments have been slow to catch on in Sioux Falls, it’s clear that energy conservation is becoming a better bargain for local homeowners.

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