Over the past two weeks we have heard from several members expressing concern about their electric bills. We understand your concerns and are doing everything we can to help resolve the issues.
When a member calls in we look at the details and history of their account. First, we verify the billing read for the month to check for errors. We are still using manual meter readers during this transition. We have found a few instances in which the manual meter reading was incorrect. When that occurs we can correct the billing immediately.
Then we look at meter performance. From our office, the Customer Service Reps can actually view hourly meter reports from the new meter that has been installed.
Next we compare your usage to the weather and we work with you to understand how you use electricity daily. During the process we ask you several questions to try to help understand the amount of electricity you are potentially using.
If during these discussions we see any indication that there may be an issue, we will check the meter.
Since some of the billing process is still manual, we sometimes find a data entry error. We will immediately correct any billing errors that may have occurred due to human error.
We check the length of your billing cycle. The number of days in the cycle can fluctuate and every extra day means the bill could be higher. Check your bill to see how many days were billed. A higher bill could be the result of a longer billing period.
Several factors can affect your electric bill
The most important is the weather. We have been enjoying a stretch of mild weather recently, but we had several very cold days in December and early January that are showing up on the current bills. See the Daily Average Temperature Charts at the end of this statement.
The average daily temperature in December 2016 was 38 degrees, compared to an average daily temperature of 49 degrees in December 2015. That means your furnace was running a lot more to keep your house comfortable. (temps are from ww.weatherdatadepot.com)
If you look back to previous bills, comparing this bill to the same period last year won’t give you an accurate usage comparison. To compare usage and cost, look back to February 2016 when usage levels were similar to this latest billing cycle.
Keep in mind that, depending on the timing of your bill, these latest cycles also include Christmas, which for most families mean more cooking, more guests, more showers and more laundry, all of which can boost your bill substantially.
We can send an energy advisor to help you identify problems that could be causing your bill to go up. Talk to our customer service representatives to make an appointment.
Automated Meter Facts
All the meters we use were tested in a certified laboratory to verify they are accurate prior to shipment. All meters tested within the .2% accuracy ANSI standards that apply.
As soon as we started hearing about these concerns from our members, we pulled several meters and conducted tests in our meter shop. All the meters we tested were found to be working properly. We will continue to randomly test meters.
The automated meter we installed is very common. There are more than 51 million automated meters installed around the country and most of the utilities in this region use automated meters.
We want to help
We are more than willing to discuss these issues, to meet with members and do whatever we can to help address the member’s concerns. Thank you for working with us as we go through this transition.