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Saturday, February 24, 2024
Feb. 24, 2024

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Energy Adviser: Review utility bill to save money


Setting up automatic bill payments is easier than ever, but it’s still important to review bills regularly for abnormalities and potential money-saving opportunities — especially utility bills.

Your Clark Public Utilities energy bill is more than an expense. It’s a reflection of the choices, lifestyle and product decisions we make at our homes and at our businesses.

“We make it easy to consider those details. Our bill includes current usage as well as consumption history over the last year so customers can see if they’ve made changes year to year,” Clark Public Utilities Accounting Manager Jackie Maddux said. “We aimed to strike a balance between making our bills informative and still easy to understand for every customer.”

The top of the bill explains the current billing period, present and prior meter readings, usage for the billing period and details on how the current bill is calculated.

On the surface, it’s a summary of the account balance. On a deeper level it’s the first clue each month in what can seem like an energy mystery. Did a recent bill seem higher than you’d expect? It could be a sign that some of your electric appliances aren’t running properly and need to be serviced or replaced. Maybe you’ve developed a habit of leaving lights or appliances running for long periods or perhaps your normally efficient electric heating system worked overtime in auxiliary mode during a recent cold weather spike.

Also, comparing consumption habits year to year can help establish your baseline energy expenses when considering major purchases for your home or business.

Want to save energy and shrink your electrical expenses? Investing in weatherization measures, a heat pump water heater or high-efficiency appliances will reduce energy consumption, and costs. Considering a new hot tub, installing an air conditioner, or purchasing a new piece of equipment for your business? Your bill is likely to rise, but a few minutes and some simple calculations can help predict by about how much.

“The back of the bill provides great information on utility programs and services, but if customers ever have questions on those or any other topic they shouldn’t hesitate to contact us,” Maddux said.

Information on reporting a power outage, the utility’s office hours and locations, or the many ways a customer can pay — even how to make payment arrangements if finances are an issue — can all be found on the bill.

It explains what fees may be charged due to a payment issues, what to do if a bill seems incorrect, and what conditions may lead to disconnection.

Customers can figure out their own electric or water bills with the meter reading explainer on the right side of the back page and more. For those who want even more information, detailed consumption graphs and account history can be accessed anytime using MyAccount at ClarkPublicUtilities.com.

“The bill is informative, but only touches on some of our many services,” Maddux said. “Customers can always call us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year at 360-992-3000 to talk through bills and help prioritize ways to lower usage.”

Energy Adviser is written by Clark Public Utilities. Send questions to ecod@clarkpud.com or to Energy Adviser, c/o Clark Public Utilities, P.O. Box 8900, Vancouver, WA 98668