“I recently received a post card inviting me to attend a free dinner and hear about ways to lower my utility bills. Should I purchase the products this company is offering?” asked a member recently.
One product a member told us about recently involves storing energy the member paid for that would otherwise be returned for free to Golden Valley Electric. This “stored” energy is in the form of kilovolt-ampere reactive (KVAR), or reactive power. So while this product sounds great in theory, it will not help GVEA members. Here’s why:
Golden Valley bills each member for kilowatt-hours – or working power – consumed. Members are not billed for reactive power. What’s the difference between the two? Think of a soda poured from a can into a glass. The liquid soda is the working power. Reactive power represents the little bit of foam you get on top.
Because residential reactive power usage is so low, it is not metered by Golden Valley Electric. From our understanding, this device would not save members any money on their electric bills.
Bottom line: Remember there are several easy ways to save energy in the home: energy-efficient products, such as compact fluorescent lamps and smart power strips, keeping the home well insulated and maintaining household appliances. And anytime electricity is involved, hire a licensed electrical contractor to make sure the equipment is installed safely.