The Efficiency of Space Heaters

Some basic facts about space heaters will help you get at the truth of the matter. Space heaters work best as a supplement to a furnace or heat pump—they rarely are used as the primary heating source. Three main types of space heaters are available: radiant heaters, convection heaters, and combination heaters. These usually can be purchased for $30 to $100.

 Radiant Heaters

 A radiant heater heats objects and people—not the air—in a room. Their best use is in rooms where those who want to be warmed are in the direct line of sight of the heater. Radiant heaters can be a good choice if you are in a room for a short period of time and want instant heat. They can pose a burn or fire risk, however, and should not be placed near furniture, drapery, pets, or small children.

Convection Heaters

 Convection heaters are designed to heat the air—not people or objects—in a room. Hot air from the convection heater rises to the ceiling and forces cooler air to the floor. The cooler air is warmed by the heater and rises to the ceiling, creating a cycle that continues as long as the heater is on. These typically are either baseboard or oil- or water-filled heaters. The oil- or water-filled heaters are the most efficient types and often look like a small radiator. These units generally become warm to the touch and, compared to a radiant heater, have a decreased fire and burn risk.

Combination Heaters

As the name implies, combination heaters try to merge the best features of radiant and convection heaters. They often have an internal fan that aids in distributing heat throughout the room. These heaters are versatile, but they typically do not perform as well as radiant or convection heaters.

Before purchasing a space heater, you should determine how and where it will be used, and whether a radiant, convection, or combination heater will do the job best. Combination units are versatile, but you likely will get better performance from a radiant or convection heater. Use a radiant heater if you want heat instantly and will stay in one spot. If you need to warm an entire room, a convection heater should do the trick.

So can using a space heater cut your home heating bill? Maybe. Most space heaters use between 600 and 1,500 watts of electricity. A homeowner using a space heater 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, for a month, would spend approximately $19.44 for this additional electricity. However, space heaters can heat only a small space. You can save significantly if you use the space heater in this way: turn the thermostat of your central heating system down considerably (as low as 50 degrees in some cases). Place the space heater in a room occupied by people and close that room off from the rest of the home. This method of “zone heating” will save money.

Space heaters do have their place in warming a house, but they simply cannot replace energy- efficient central heating or weatherization improvements to the home. For example, all electric space heaters produce 1 unit of heat for every 1 unit of electricity consumed; in other words, they are 100% energy efficient. Those that use natural gas are 80% efficient. In comparison, geothermal heat pumps can produce more than 3 units of heat for every unit of electricity consumed, making them 300% efficient.

As with any technology, before purchasing a space heater you should understand how the device is used, as well as the energy claims of the manufacturer. While it may be technically possible to cut your heating bill by 50% using a space heater, it is impractical for most people.

Before You Buy

Before buying a space heater, it will be beneficial to take some easy and inexpensive energy-saving measures in your home. Any of these could solve your heating problems without any additional heating equipment:

  • Add caulk and weather stripping around doors and windows
  • Add insulation to attics and exposed walls
  • Clean or replace furnace filters
  • Move furniture or obstacles away from heat registers
  • Insulate duct work
  • Close blinds or curtains at night

New Rates Effective November 1st

Beginning with your November monthly statement the basic service charge will be increase $3.50 for all rate classes. For the average residential customer this equates to a 3.4% increase in their monthly bill.

This is in response to the announced Bonneville Power Administration increase in wholesale power rates effective October 1st, which amounts to an average increase of 6.1% for CPI. The main factors for this increase are the end of the temporary benefits of debt refinancing; increased maintenance, operating, and capital costs of hydro system assets; and increased fish and wildlife costs.

What is the basic charge?
The basic charge is a fixed amount on your monthly statement. Other utilities like gas, phone and water all have basic charges on their monthly statements.

Why is there a basic charge?
Your cooperative has fixed costs necessary to maintain and operate the system. These costs include buildings, trucks, equipment, labor, taxes, insurance, long-term debt … everything necessary to make sure your lights come on when you flip the switch.

How does our basic charge compare to other co-ops in the state?
The average is $22, with a high of $39.

Does everyone pay the same?
Yes. All residential members will pay the same $16.50 per month.

Is my kilowatt-hour rate going up?
No, there is no increase in your kWh rate.

What are the future plans for the basic charge?
As our costs increase in the future, we plan to modestly increase the basic service charge over time until it more fairly covers our fixed costs.

Why the change to our retail rate structure?
For many Northwest utilities, and CPI in particular, decades of steady load growth have supported low fixed charges and modest increases in kWh charges by generating additional revenues to sufficiently cover rising fixed and variable costs alike. That situation is changing significantly for CPI and the entire electric industry.

Electric utility loads are largely on the decline due primarily to years of a struggling regional and national economy, but also from intense energy efficiency efforts and competition from alternative generating resources like natural gas and solar.

CPI members in particular have an impressive record of investing in energy efficiency and rooftop solar generation, which is good news and to be encouraged. However, these successes also contribute to the steady decline in average energy use per member we’ve experienced over the past five years.

How are these rates determined?
A cost-of-service study is preformed periodically to determine what it costs to serve each rate class. We use this information to design rates that fairly recover our costs from all classes.

Another Great Annual Meeting!

CPI just concluded another great annual meeting. It was great to get our members out to the Lebanon Samaritan Event Center to celebrate 76 years of making life better! While the main purpose of our annual meeting is to elect board members and conduct CPI business it was also great to get to know more about the services CPI provides. For a copy of our President’s message at the meeting please click here.

Check out some of the awesome photos of the membership:














Photo Sep 12, 9 37 03 AM

Photo Sep 12, 10 09 08 AM

Initial Public Notice – Siletz/Kernville Highway

Consumers Power, Inc. has applied for Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to fund the Siletz River Overhead to Underground Relocation Mitigation Project along the Lower Siletz River in Lincoln County on state highway 229 (Siletz‐Kernville highway) between milepost 5 and 6; with matching funds provided by the Consumers Power, Inc. Pursuant to 44 CFR Part 9.12, FEMA gives early notice under Executive Order (EO) 11988, Floodplain Management or EO 11990, Wetland Protection; since this action is located in or affects the floodplain or may affect wetlands.

The project site is located in or affects the floodplain of the Siletz River. The purpose of the project is to relocate to underground an existing overhead power line that is susceptible to frequent damage (and resulting power outages) from coastal wind storms. The proposed action includes: Installation of 2,600 feet of underground power cable in one three-inch conduit and to remove 3,800 feet of existing overhead power line and eight poles.

Comments concerning the proposed action will be accepted from the affected public; local, state and federal agencies; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate alternatives and the environmental impacts of the proposed action. Comments should be made in writing, sent to the point of contact listed below, and postmarked within 15 days of publication of this notice.

Additional information about the project, including a project area map, can be obtained from the applicant contact below or at

Responsible Official: For Additional Information (applicant):
Ms. Science Kilner
Acting Regional Environmental Officer
FEMA Region 10
130 228th Street SW
Bothell, WA 98021-9796

Greg Pierce
Director of Operations & Engineering
Consumers Power, Inc.
PO Box 1180
Philomath, Oregon 97370

Given the nature of the proposed action, if no public comments are received, no further public notice will be conducted for this project.


Northwest Salmon Having Another Record Year

The Columbia River’s upriver bright fall Chinook run and the combined lower and upper river fall Chinook run will each be the second-largest on record since Bonneville Dam was completed in 1938, according to the Technical Advisory Committee.

The total adult fall Chinook return to Lower Granite Dam may also be the largest since construction of Lower Granite Dam in the 1970s. Some 735,000 upriver adult fall Chinook are expected to pass Bonneville Dam this year. The 10-year (2004-2013) average is 243,000 fish. Upriver brights, as these fall Chinook are called, are the largest component of the total fall Chinook run entering the Columbia River at its mouth.

More than a million total adult fall Chinook are predicted for the Columbia River this year. If this forecast pans out, the fall Chinook run will have been more than a million fish for three years running. The three-year period 2013-2015 has been significantly better than the 10-year (2004-2013) average of 595,000 fall Chinook at the river mouth. About 1,270,000 were counted in 2013 (the largest since Bonneville Dam was built), last year brought 1,160,000, and this year has hit 1,100,000 so far.

At Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River, a large run of 58,200 adult fall Chinook is anticipated. That, too, would be a second-best fall Chinook return since Lower Granite—the uppermost of four dams on the Lower Snake—was completed in 1978.

Asked about Snake River fish counts, Stuart Ellis, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission biologist and TAC chairman, said he was amazed to find that “in just the past four years, we almost certainly will have had more adult fall Chinook counted at Lower Granite than in the previous 37 years Lower Granite has existed.” “Those 37 years total 202,787 fall Chinook, while the total for the last four years is already 190,238 fish,” he said. “And we will get another 13,000 fish this year
without much trouble at all”

[Laura Berg at EnergyNewsData].


Safety Matters

Although seemingly innocent enough, putting signs or other items on utility poles creates serious safety hazards. Staples, nails, and tacks used to hang signs as well as the signs themselves, pose dangers to line workers who must climb poles when either restoring power following storms or while performing routine maintenance to ensure system reliability.

The nails and tacks left behind from signs can snag utility workers gloves and sleeves that they wear to work on high voltage lines and puncture the safety clothing making line workers vulnerable to electrocution.

Posters or other objects (birdhouses, balloons, flags, and even basketball nets) can also create dangerous obstacles as they themselves or the objects left behind from hanging them can cause problems for line workers.

CPI offers an electricity safety course to help teach children and adults of all ages to be safe around electricity and learn what it is. To learn more and schedule a demonstration please visit our safety page.

Thank you for following these safety tips and helping to keep our CPI linemen safe!
Photo May 21, 8 49 34 AM

CPI is offering FREE Smart Power Strips at our offices

The Smart Power Strip is an infrared and motion sensing strip that reduces power consumption of home entertainment centers by shutting off power to the main device (television) and other controlled devices (gaming systems, DVD players, entertainment systems).

You can get a free Smart Power Strip from CPI and cut waste and save around $30 a year! Come visit us at either our Philomath or Lebanon office to get one for your home today.

CPI Joins with Northwest RiverPartners for Hydropower Education Effort

In recognition of the tremendous value of the Columbia and Snake River System, CPI is continuing to partner with a regional effort to educate people about the multiple benefits the rivers provide to the region’s economy.  An informational “CleanHydro” campaign features a website, fact-based materials, television and print ads. CPI is joining other utilities and users of the region’s rivers on the campaign, which is being coordinated by Northwest RiverPartners, an organization of river users with members in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

To view a video on the benefits of the hydro system that benefits our region click on the video below.

Public opinion research shows a lack of understanding of the river system’s value to the Northwest’s economy. Many Northwest residents believe wind and solar technologies produce a much higher percentage of power than what is accurate. Younger generations know very little about the Columbia and Snake River System’s positive contributions. For example, hydro-power produces 60 percent of the region’s electricity, while solar and wind produce 4 percent. And in the Northwest, hydro-power provides 90 percent of the region’s renewable energy.

“We are launching this effort to educate people that a great deal of important commerce flows from our Northwest rivers,” said Scott Corwin, Executive Director of the Public Power Council and also a co-chair of the CleanHydro campaign. “The fact that hydropower is the region’s premier renewable energy source is a compelling story to share,” Corwin added.

Examples of facts and benefits from the campaign:

  • Agriculture: Northwest rivers irrigate 7.8 million acres of farmland each year. Annual net earned income from Northwest agriculture production exceeds $8 billion.
  • Commerce: Over 50 million tons of commercial cargo, valued at over $20 billion, is moved down the Columbia and Snake Rivers annually. The Northwest is the nation’s number one exporter of wheat, barley and paper products. The Northwest river system provides over 100,000 jobs to the region.
  • Clean air: Barges on Northwest rivers keep 700,000 trucks off the highways each year. Because hydropower produces no carbon emissions, the Northwest’s carbon footprint is half that of other parts of the country.
  • Renewable: Hydropower provides nearly 90 percent of the Northwest’s renewable energy.
  • Energy: Northwest dams provide nearly 60 percent of the region’s electricity. It would take two nuclear, three coal-fired, or six gas-fired power plants to replace the average annual power produced by the four lower Snake River dams.
  • Flexible and reliable: Because the rivers are always flowing in the Northwest, hydropower is also used as a tool to back up intermittent generators such as wind or solar. Hydro generation can be quickly adjusted to follow changes in wind production and keep the transmission system reliable.
  • Flood control: Prior to the federal dams on the Columbia and Willamette rivers, Portland and other cities were subject to severe flooding. Controlling flood waters became a high priority in 1948 when Vanport, Oregon, was destroyed in a late spring deluge. A 1964 treaty with Canada led to the development of millions of acre-feet of water storage for flood control and power generation. Estimates show that flood control operations in February 1996 saved $3.2 billion to the Portland metropolitan area in what otherwise would have been devastating flood damage.
  • Recreation: The reservoirs formed by dams provide Northwest residents with abundant waterways for boating, fishing, water-related sports and cruises. Tourism from river cruise ships alone brings $15 to $20 million annually to local Northwest economies.

About Northwest RiverPartners: Northwest RiverPartners is an alliance of over 120 farmers, utilities, ports and small and large businesses that relies on and promotes the economic and environmental benefits of the Columbia and Snake Rivers, and fish and wildlife policies and programs based on sound science. RiverPartners’ member organizations represent more than four million electric utility customers, 40,000 farmers and thousands of port employees that provide hundreds of thousands of Northwest jobs.

For information on the CleanHydro campaign, visit