Facing frosty electric bills head-on

Anne BrockOur Town Outdoors

Here we go headlong into 2024 with post-holiday bill-paying and credit-card interest rates on our minds. Then comes the first electric bill with a bite as cold as the January air! Did you just write the check and file that bill away? Did you have to run up the credit card bill higher to pay the electric bill? Ouch! Or do you have time to make a fresh start? Here are some ideas that might ease the utility bill pain.

First, be sure you know how to read your bill to know why the utility came up with that amount. Do you have some idea of how many kilowatt hours of electricity you use each month? Can you scan the handy graphics your bill probably includes to see the annual pattern and how this winter compares to the same time last year? Here are some bill-reading informational pages from local utilities:

Knoxville Utilities Board

Appalachian Electric Cooperative

Maryville Utilities

Newport Utilities

Now that you’ve taken a close look at what you’re spending each month to keep your home warm and functional, are there some easy adjustments that could save you money? Consider a free home checkup like we told you about previously. A tiny investment in weatherstripping from any home improvement store could be a diy project right now to stop door gaps and save a few dollars on heating.

Maybe check out a budget billing plan like the one at Rockwood Electric that sets a predictable bill amount each month (you have to pay any extra by the end of the year, though).

A newer way to lower your utility bill is to work with your utility to use more electricity when it’s more abundant and less when it’s in higher demand. Knoxville Utilities Board now offers this Time of Use Rates program. According to KUB’s rates, you could potentially save two-thirds of the cost if you used electricity during off-peak times.

Finally, some people are using their own on-site solar systems to produce some of their own electricity – with a plan to pay off that system over a few years while also cutting utility bills.

Anne Brock is marketing coordinator for Solar Alliance, which designs and manages solar installation projects for large manufacturers and small businesses. She can be reached at abrock@solaralliance.com or 865-221-8349.


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