Energy Companies Explain Budget Billing - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/4/05

Energy Companies Explain Budget Billing

You may be turning on your heaters for the first time this season by Thursday. We've warned you that energy prices are expected to double and possibly triple this winter. Here's what to do now to prepare for high bills later .

Gyle Roberson, LP&L Collection and Field Supervisor says, "If you have a bill that's extremely large, as long as the customer has pretty good credit rating, we can extend a large bill out to be paid during a period of time."

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Roberson offers that option with a bit of caution: payment plan or not, your next month's bill may be large too and you will be responsible for those new charges. That's why LP&L and Xcel Energy offer "average" or "budget" billing. Roberson explains, "We go back and look at your bill for 12 months, and bill out approximately the same amount for the whole year. So your summer bill is an average and winter is an average. It just evens it out through the year."

The only sure way to lessen the blow this winter is to use less and conserve more. Start with regular maintenance of your heater. And something as simple as changing filters in your house can save up to 5% on your energy bill. Roberson adds, "The filter is not going to get any cleaner so putting it off is not gonna help. They recommend at least twice a year."

Roberson suggests checking the quality of weatherstripping around doors and windows in your home, closing the blinds to keep the cold out, and keeping a close eye on the thermostat. He says, "When you're gone during the day, you can program the thermostat not to come on near as much." Sometimes you have to spend money to save money. Splurging on a little more insulation in the attic can save you in the long run.

Of course there is always the option to not pay your bill at all. With LP&L you'll start accruing late charges after 21 days and you'll be without heat altogether when they disconnect electricity after 30 days.

For more energy conversation tips check out the following links:

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