How does Heartland decide when to declare a Peak Day?

Here are a few questions we ask ourselves when deciding whether to declare a Peak Day for the following day:

  • Is tomorrow likely to be the hottest day of the month? Higher temperatures mean air conditioners work harder and longer, meaning more strain on the system.
  • Are we expected to have several days of high temperatures in a row? If so, it's likely that the Peak Day will occur after a few days of high temperatures rather than right away.
  • What does the electrical load on the system look like? Is it reasonable to expect that it might reach the highest point of the month tomorrow?
  • Has KEPCo (our power supplier) declared a Peak Day? Just because KEPCo declares a Peak Day doesn't mean we will—sometimes our interpretation of the data is a little different—but their forecast does inform our decision-making process.

When examining weather and load data, we have to consider areas beyond just Heartland's system, because KEPCo's Peak Days are based on usage throughout all of the areas served by KEPCo including parts of western Kansas.

How much does it cost to start new service?

The process of establishing electrical service at a new location starts with filling out an Application for Service form and paying a $250 engineering deposit that will be applied to your project if you decide to move forward. (See our Connect New Service page for more details.) The engineering deposit ensures we can pay our stakers for their time visiting your location and planning the construction.

The total cost of construction depends greatly on many factors, including:

  1. How Far You Are: If your property is far from where the electricity is already set up, it might cost more. This is because we might need to put in more poles, wires and other equipment to reach you.
  2. The Land: If your land is tricky to work with (for instance, rocky or hilly), it could make things more complicated and expensive to set up the service.
  3. Service Requirements: Sometimes, the cooperative might need to upgrade infrastructure like transformers or even the number of phases on the lines running to your location to ensure we can provide the power you need.
  4. Getting Access: If we need to get permission to set up things on someone else's land to be able to reach you, there might be costs involved with obtaining easements.
  5. Local Rules: The area you're in might have special rules or fees that can affect the cost of setting up the new service.

Please call us at (800) 835-9586 if you have additional questions.

How does Heartland decide how much to charge for electric service?

Every few years, Heartland works with an outside consultant to conduct a cost-of-service study to determine the true cost of providing electricity to our members. These studies are essential for us to set rates that are fair and equitable for all members.

The cost-of-service study helps us identify the various costs associated with distributing electricity to members, taking into account factors such as the cost of fuel, the cost of system construction and maintenance, and the cost of providing customer service. It also examines the cost of providing power to different types of members, such as residential, small commercial, and large industrial, so we can set appropriate rates that accurately reflect the cost of serving each.

How am I supposed to use less electricity during the busiest part of the day?

It’s a safe bet that on a hot summer day, you’ll be running your air conditioner during the peak time of 3 to 8 p.m. The easiest way to save on your peak charge is by not using too many other high-draw appliances all at the same time. Your big-screen TV doesn’t draw that much power, but your electric clothes dryer, oven, dishwasher, and pool pump do. (See our Energy Use Basics page for a list of appliances and their typical power draw.) Try changing up your routine so you’re using only one of these items at a time and your demand will drop. It’s that easy!

Why does it matter what time I use electricity?

It’s an unavoidable fact of the electric industry: power costs much more during peak times when demand on the grid is at its highest. It’s a simple matter of supply and demand.

Electricity is generated in real-time, and the amount of electricity generated has to match the amount of electricity consumed. When demand for electricity is high, the electric grid has to work harder to supply enough electricity to meet the demand – even if it requires the use of more costly sources of generation. This can lead to higher electricity prices, particularly during peak usage hours, which are typically in the late afternoon and early evening.

In the past, when we were limited by metering technology, we had to make our per-kWh rates higher for everyone to ensure we collected enough revenue to cover power costs incurred by those with high demand during peak times.

But now, using modern meters and rate designs, we are able to consistently reward those on our default Peak Savers rate who spread out their usage during peak time from 3 to 8 p.m. on declared Peak Days. That reward comes in the form of a lower peak charge. Incorporating timing into our electric rates helps ensure fairness among all members.

What rates does Heartland offer?

Most homes and farms are on our Peak Savers rate, but the Time of Use and Time of Use EV rates are also available upon request.

We also have discounted rates for members whose homes are heated with a heat pump. Heartland has several rates in place for its small and large commercial members, based on their load requirements. All of our members, regardless of the rate they pay, also have a Power Cost Adjustment added to their monthly bill. The PCA varies monthly as it tracks the changes in the cost of wholesale power purchased by Heartland.