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Don’t be caught off guard with higher bills this winter!

Don’t be caught off guard with higher bills this winter!

Bill Stephens, Web Editor

January 16th, 2018

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Monitor and manage your energy usage during the winter months.
Every year, Kenergy receives calls and emails from members with concerns about their electric bills. Many calls are during the winter months, and they come from members who feel their electric bills are incorrect because they are higher than usual.
“During the winter, heaters are running, we are all inside more, the TV is on, the lights are on, and the kids are inside. In other words, we all use more electricity during the winter; so, usage will typically be higher,” said David Hamilton, Vice President of Member Services.
Kenergy has 12 billing cycles, and because of their particular billing period, the Cycle 4 bills that were mailed out on January 9 will be the highest residential bills of the season, to date.
“During that billing cycle’s time period heating degree days were 35% higher this year, which means the average daily temperature was around ten degrees colder. For example, a sample of ten electric-heated homes on that particular billing cycle averaged 63% higher usage in their kilowatt-hours (kWh) this year, compared to last year. In fact, they used an average of 2,657 kWh more this year,” said Hamilton.
When trying to determine what your usage is, a rule of thumb is that any appliance or equipment that generates heat from electricity are your largest users.
If you are concerned about your bill, there are things you can do to help mitigate your increased usage as the temperature drops. You can also sign up for Budget Billing, where monthly payments are the same amount each month, with an annual true-up in September.
Listed below are things to keep an eye on during the cold winter months.
Electric-heated appliances. If you are heating with electricity during the winter season, it is likely the highest portion of your electric bill. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, approximately 56% of electric power used is for heating and cooling. You can save on the heating portion of your electric bill by lowering your thermostat at night and while you are away. Consider purchasing a programmable thermostat.

Electric water heaters. Their heating elements draw energy regularly to keep the water at a set temperature. To conserve energy during the winter season, turn the water heater’s thermostat down to 120 degrees. Insulate your tank. Valuable heat loss occurs in many water heaters due to lack of insulation.

Electric space heaters. These are very high users of electricity. A small heater can cost you $100 or more per month if used continuously. Avoid using them when you can.

Electric clothes dryers. You likely have more laundry in the winter because coats, pants, and heavier shirts take up more space in the dryer than the shorts and tank tops of summer. Of course, that heavy laundry needs to be dried, and the dryer is going to have to work longer to get the job done. Consider drying clothes indoors on garment racks or even hanging over your shower curtain rod.

“Understanding your electric usage can help you lower it. You can monitor your usage on My Account at kenergycorp.com or download the app on your smartphone,” said Hamilton.
Kenergy also has Kill-a-Watt meter plugins that members can borrow to test usage for any one appliance at a time. The device can be reset as you move it from appliance to appliance. You simply pay a $50 deposit that is refunded when the device is returned.

Kenergy is a member-owned electric cooperative that supplies power to more than 57,000 meters in 14 counties in western Kentucky.

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