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Utility Watchdog: Heat Wave Could Impact Electricity Rates

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(Credit: AP)

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CHICAGO (WBBM) – The heat wave could play a role in determining what it costs for electricity for the whole year.

David Kolata, executive Director of the Citizens Utility Board, says we’re all paying for this heat wave.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser reports

“At the end of the day its going to have a big impact because you can’t store electricity, at least at this point economically, so you have to build the whole system out just to meet the demand of a day like this when all of the (air conditioners) are running and we have a peak demand,” Kolata says. “So, it turns out, over the course of a year, really, just about the twenty hottest hours of the year are determining what we pay on average throughout the whole year because it affects the market price.”

Kolata says if peak demand could be lowered just five percent, your electric bill, on average, could go down 20 percent.

“The electricity that you’re consuming right now was generated a second ago. You can’t store it economically, so you’ve got to build the whole system out to meet just a few hours of the year, so a day like this when all the A/C’s are running, demand is at its peak, you have to build everything. That includes generation, that includes transmission.”