Vinton Municipal Electric Utility

Phone (319) 472-4813 or 4722-3663


Energy costs are increasing so let's take a look at your city bill, specifically the portion related to Vinton Municipal Electric Utility (VMEU).

Your electric energy consumption cost can be broken down into 3 basic parts, energy, demand, and transmission costs. Following is a definition of the 3 basic components of your electric bill.A kilowatt purchased is energy used to light your home, power the TV, run the air-conditioner, etc. If a customer uses 1,000 kilowatts in a month, VMEU must purchase or generate 1,000 kilowatts plus any losses in our distribution system. Losses come from wires running to the home, wires rubbing on trees, transformers that step voltage down to feed houses, wires buried in the ground that are leaking etc. A 5% system loss is not unusual and is really pretty good if you can achieve it. With a 5% system loss VMEU must purchase approximately 1,050 kilowatts to provide your home with the 1,000 kilowatts. Energy purchased amounts to about 54% of our wholesale power costs. Demand energy is power used during a peak time of the day and month. Typically 33% of our wholesale power costs come from the demand energy peak that Vinton has. For example, during the week day most residents of Vinton are at work and their home energy use declines. But come 5-6 PM on the weekday and that changes. People are returning home, turning on the lights, turning down the air-conditioning, turning on the computers, televisions, cooking etc. That is when our peak demand is set when every one does all this at approximately the same time each day. This will set the peak demand for the day and possibly for the entire month depending on high it gets. Our wholesale power meter records the peak every 15 minutes every day of the month. The highest peak of the month is then billed accordingly to VMEU at the current rate for 2016 of $10.609 per KW. Fortunately our power contract is based on a coincident demand meaning that we pay a demand charge at the time the entire group sets the demand from our supplier rather than when we hit our actual peak demand. A good example would be In 2012 our peak was about 12,900 KW but our coincident peak was about 11,800. In terms of dollar amounts in 2016 a 12,900 KW demand would cost $136,856 versus what we would pay of $125,186. Being on the coincident peak saved over $10,000 because the group we are in tends to peak around 4 to 5 PM instead of our peak time of about 7 PM in the summer.Transmission costs come from getting electricity generated by nuclear, coal,diesel fuel, natural gas, wind turbines and hydro power plants to Vinton. Several years ago there was a big push to be able to buy power from any provider to foster competition and hopefully reduce rates. However, as when ever the government gets involved and regulates what used to be cheap ends up costing a lot more and getting energy from one location to another is no exception. Even though Vinton has a choice in where and who to buy power from the problem is getting it here. Click this Link to advance to the next page of explanation.