Are you spending more time at home and noticing an increase in your utility bill? Spending more time at home likely means using more electricity and water, which can lead to higher utility bills. While utility rate increases can be part of the cause of higher utility bills, there is usually more to the story.
In July 2020, Bowling Green’s residential customers experienced an increase of $0.00301/kWh in the energy charge and $0.50 increase in the monthly customer charge. This is approximately a 2.5% increase when comparing similar monthly usage. Despite this relatively small adjustment in rates, many have been caught off guard by higher than expected utility bills. While situations vary, the Utilities Department offers the following suggestions:
UNDERSTAND YOUR BILL
First, look closely at the utility bill to determine where the increase has occurred. The utility bill contains the amount owed for electric, water, sewer, and the refuse/recycling fee. In most cases, the increase in charges is a result of a higher usage in electricity or water. For example, air conditioning is one of the largest uses of electricity in a house. 2020 had the most Cooling Degree Days (CDD) in June, July, and August compared to the last 9 years. CDD are a measure of the outside air temperatures in a period of time. A higher number of CDD’s in a year typically results in air conditioners running more frequently to keep homes at the same comfortable temperature. The extreme heat and dry conditions over the past several months also led to an increase in water usage for lawns, landscaping, and gardening efforts. Also, many customers purchased a pool for the first time this year, resulting in an increase in water and electric usage.
UTILITY INSIGHTS PROGRAM
The Utility Insights program can help determine where the excess usage is occurring. The program allows customers to review a current bill summary with usages broken down by electric, water and sewer. It allows a customer to view their daily usage, review their monthly billing and usage history, and provides a projection of their next bill. Electric or water usage can be compared with temperature data to see how usage changes daily or monthly. The data is displayed in an easy to read chart or table format and can be downloaded by the customer.
After creating a Utility Insights account, customers can complete a series of questions about their home that can help them understand their energy and water usage. Answers are used to provide better recommendations for reducing usage and saving money. A personal savings plan can be created based off the completed profile & customized recommendations. Users can then keep track of projects, create a to-do list of the energy and water saving actions they plan to do, mark off which tasks they’ve already completed, and see estimates of how much their efforts can save.
EFFICIENCY SMART PROGRAM
The Efficiency Smart program can help customers complete energy efficiency projects by offering rebates for certain energy efficiency purchases.
BUDGET PAYMENT PLAN
The City offers a budget payment plan option. The budget amount is calculated based on the total 12 months of utility bills divided by 12 months to arrive at a monthly budget payment. Budget amounts are recalculated semi-annually. Residents who need assistance paying their bill should contact the Salvation Army at 419-352-5918.
Residents are encouraged to contact the Utilities Business Office at or call 419-354-6252 with any questions. The City can help residents analyze their bill, work through possible causes of high usage, and help answer questions about the Utility Insights program.