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News Release

Energy is a low-cost ‘ingredient’ in our Thanksgiving dinner
Alliant Energy encourages customers to use safe and energy-efficient practices

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – November 21, 2013 – Alliant Energy’s Iowa utility company reminds its customers about the low cost of a very important ingredient needed to make the annual Thanksgiving meal this holiday – energy.

The cost of the traditional turkey feast, along with mashed potatoes, corn, stuffing and more, changes every year. The same is true for the cost of energy, which is needed to make the meal. This year, the American Farm Bureau Federation figures the average Thanksgiving feast for 10 people will cost $49.04 this year. That is down about $0.44 from last Turkey Day.

The price of electricity to make that meal for Alliant Energy customers in Iowa remains small this year, just $1.59. A recent study by the Edison Electric Institute shows electric customers in America pay about the same percentage of their annual income to cover their electric bill as they did in the 1950s, in spite of all the new appliances and electronics we plug in every day.

“Alliant Energy works hard to manage our costs for customers,” said Tom Aller, President - IPL. “On this holiday weekend, we encourage everyone to take advantage of energy efficiency and to stay safe.”

Thanksgiving meal cooking instructionsIngredient cost - ElectricityIngredient Cost - Natural Gas
16 lb. stuffed turkey roasted in an oven for 3.5 hours$0.91$0.30
Large pan of mashed potatoes cooked for 20 minutes$0.11$0.02
Giblet gravy cooked on the stove for 10 minutes$0.05$0.01
Homemade dinner rolls baked for 30 minutes$0.13$0.04
Green bean hot dish baked in an oven for 30 minutes$0.13$0.04
Two pumpkin pies baked in an oven for 1 hour$0.26$0.09
Total energy ingredient cost$1.59$0.50


Investing either money or effort into energy efficiency can pay off. Consider these ideas:

  • Coast to the finish: Food keeps cooking even after you turn off the burner. When food is almost ready, turn off the oven or burners and let existing heat finish the cooking for you.
  • If your holiday cooking doesn't heat up your house, your guests will. Turn your thermostat down 3 to 5 degrees to save energy while staying comfortable.
  • The turkey is traditionally stuffed early in the morning and roasted for hours. Since its a long, slow cook, there is no need to preheat your oven, even when the recipe suggests it. This also holds true for a holiday ham. In fact, unless you're baking breads or pastries, you may not need to preheat the oven at all.
  • When using an electric oven, cook as much of your meal at one time as possible. Foods with different cooking temperatures can often be cooked simultaneously – variations of 25°F in either direction still produce good results and save energy.
  • Shut the door: This Thanksgiving, resist the urge to open the oven door, as doing so will decrease the temperature inside by 25 to 30 degrees. Use your oven light and look through the window instead to keep the oven hot and the kitchen comfortable.
  • Use glass or ceramic pans. They heat faster than metal pans and the cooking temperature may be lowered by 25°F, reducing energy use.
  • Don't overlook the other cooking appliances at Thanksgiving. Fast and efficient microwave ovens use around 50 percent less energy than conventional ovens.
  • When cleaning up after dinner, do not use your oven’s self-cleaning cycle unless you have a major cleaning job on your hands.  Wipe up minor spills and splatters with a damp cloth. If you do use the self-clean, start it while the oven is still hot.
  • Running a dishwasher with a full load of dishes usually uses less hot water than doing them by hand.