Power Your Home for Less than a Mocha a Day

How much does it cost to power your home per day? It may surprise you that the cost is less than a morning mocha latte. We caught up with TVA Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President John Thomas to discuss the value of electricity.

At one time or another, all of us have decided to pinch a few pennies by giving up items like coffee, sweet treats or dining out. No big deal. But what would happen if you had to choose to give up one item in your home powered by electricity?

“It would be interesting to sit at the dinner table and listen to negotiations as families decide what’s going to be turned off,” says John Thomas, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of TVA. “Hot water or refrigerator? Computer or TV? Lights or air conditioner?”

The Value of Power

Thomas believes that until you make the abstract concept of electricity real to people they cannot fully understand its value. “Modern life is not possible without electricity and the electric grid, and a lot of folks take it for granted,” he explains. “That’s why we need to educate the public about the value of electricity and how to use it wisely.”

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that the average monthly electric bill in our region is only about $135. That breaks out to about $4.50 per day for the average residence—less than a medium mocha latte at an average coffee house.

When you compare daily electric rates to common everyday items that people buy, the results are shocking:

Cost      Item Purchased
$2.00Bottled water
$2.25Gallon of gasoline
$3.25Gallon of milk
$5.00Frozen yogurt (self-serve)
$5.50Mocha latte (coffee shop)
$9.50Lunch (one person)
$15.50Dinner (one person)

For less than the price of a frozen yogurt or latte, you can cool your home, use your computer, cook your meals, take a hot shower and run the refrigerator.

“It’s surprising how great a value electricity is when you compare it to the cost of items that we wouldn’t think twice about spending our hard-earned money on every day,” said Thomas.

Take the Challenge

To educate yourself and your family about the value of electricity, take Thomas’ challenge: “To truly understand what you get for $4.50, go home tonight and have your family list everything in the house that runs on electricity,” he recommends. “Then, as a family, decide what electric-powered items you are willing to live without for 24 hours.”

There will be some hard choices to make.

“Thankfully, we are very blessed to live in the Tennessee Valley where we have some of the lowest electric rates in the country,” says Thomas. “Choosing to run the air conditioner is not as much of a financial burden here as it is for other Americans.”  

According to TVA, 70 percent of Americans pay more for electricity than the residents of the Tennessee Valley. Consumers in other parts of the United States may even pay twice as much.

“When paying your monthly electric bill is still cheaper than taking your spouse out on a date (dinner, drinks and a movie), you can appreciate the tremendous benefit your local power company and TVA provide to the region,” Thomas concludes.

Working to Keep Rates Low

“At TVA, our mission is to serve the 9 million people of the Valley by keeping power rates as low as possible,” says Thomas.

Since 2013, the company has trimmed almost $2 billion in costs; invested $16 billion in upgrading the power system, allowing us to be more efficient and lower rates; and controlled headcount by bringing it to its lowest level since 1934.