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Several Factors Contribute to Higher Utility Bills

Does your recent utility bill seem to be higher than you anticipated? A number of variables are contributing to higher utility bills this month.

One contributing factor to higher utility bills is the unusually high number of days between meter readings. Typically, NHU would like to have the meters read within 29 to 31 days from the past meter read date. Since the Thanksgiving holiday fell so late in November of 2008, there were several holidays in the meter reading cycles between Thanksgiving and New Years Day. As our office is closed for six days between these holidays, it delayed our reading of the meters. Many of our customers' bills were for meter readings that were 32 to 37 days apart. Increasing the number of days in between meter readings can increase the usage on an account by up to 10 to 15 percent.

The weather has also contributed to higher consumption. Colder weather causes heating systems to operate longer, increasing the need for motors to run. Some customers may have used electric heaters, heat tapes or electric blankets to supplement heat in their homes. Engine block heaters may have been used to assist in starting vehicles. As the weather gets colder, electric use typically rises. The large amount of snow that fell in December, along with the recent ice storm, made it difficult to read the meters in a timely manner. If possible, please keep a path cleared to the meters.

The water and electric use for customers typically increases during the month of December. Most households are more active in December as they prepare for the holidays. Activities that increase utility consumption include cooking/baking, cleaning and decorating. Also, many households have guests that may stay in your home, thus adding to the utility use. And don't forget about the students that come home from college; they tend to use additional water and electricity while they are at home.

New Holstein Utilities is encouraging customers to use our new Home Energy Calculator to help determine the cost to operate your home's appliances. The Home Energy Calculator also offers many tips on how to use energy more efficiently. An icon for the Home Energy Calculator is located on the left side of this web site's home page. Just click on the icon to get into the program!

New Holstein Utilities, through the Wisconsin Focus on Energy Program, offers a variety of rebates on energy efficient products that will help to reduce your electric use. Visit the Focus on Energy web site to get more information on current programs. You can also visit the For Your Home section of our web site to get more information on energy efficiency programs offered by NHU. Please contact our office at 898-5776 if you have any questions.