Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Higher utilities due to increased usage and longer billing period


August 17, 2017

Following a recent increase of complaints about high utility bills, with some nearly doubling, Kimball City Administrator Dan Dean sheds some light on causes, including longer billing cycles.

“There is a combination of factors for higher bills. Primarily the higher bills are due to higher usage of water and electricity,” he said. “Also, the number of days between meter readings will vary between 28 and 35 days. This was one of the longer periods of time.”

Though the number of days between readings vary, he said that all meters are usually read every month.

“The only exceptions would be if something is blocking the meter and we cannot get to it to read it or if there is a malfunction with the meter,” Dean said.

City of Kimball staff suggested a budget billing plan to the Board of Public Works during their most recent meeting, and Dean said that while the board is supportive of the idea, more details are needed before it can be implemented.

Energy audits may help citizens troubleshoot concerns if utility costs continue to rise or remain at an unacceptable level, however, the City of Kimball does not provide this service.

Professional energy assessment or auditing services can be found at the Nebraska Energy Office or at http://www.resnet.us.

Preparing for a professional assessment is quick and may help the auditor find solutions to energy problems faster.

Make a list of problems, such as drafty areas, and have a copy of the annual energy bills which the City of Kimball can provide.

According to the website, http://www.energy.gov, the answers to a few questions could help uncover simple ways to reduce energy consumption.

*Is anyone home during working hours?

*What is the average thermostat setting for summer and winter?

*How many people live in the home?

*Is every room in use?

While a professional assessment will be more thorough, a do-it-yourself energy audit can pinpoint potential issues as well.

First, locate any drafty areas. According to http://www.energy.gov, reducing drafts can save 10 – 20 percent annually and the home will remain more comfortable.

Windows and doors are perhaps the most common cause of drafts, but gaps in baseboards, open fireplace dampers can also leak air. Residents can also check for leaks around lighting, light switches, electrical outlets and plumbing fixtures.

Sealing leaks with caulking and weather stripping

For more information, complete lists and tips on checking for leaks, visit http://www.energy.gov.


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