The Winter With No End
Ozark Border members have suffered through one of the most miserable winters in recent history. Average usage per residential account has been at a four year high since last October, with some of the months resulting in all-time high usages. Each month we have placed an article in the Rural Missouri (along with the graphic below) to explain the increased bills, only to update the article and graphic for the next month’s issue. There are two things the cooperative needs to point out regarding those bills: 1) the usage reflected on those bills were some of the highest average usage our residential consumers have seen in the past four years, and 2) Ozark Border has not had a rate increase since April, 2012. The increased bills were the result of the repeated bitter cold spells the area experienced from the end of November through early March, and were not the result of any rate increase. The graph below shows that the average usage for residential accounts over the past four months was higher in 2013/2014 than in any of the prior three years. The February, 2014 usage was the worst yet, and was reflected on the bills received in March, 2014. As of the time of this writing, the cold had continued into early March, which will affect the bills received in April. Again, we need to assure our members that the increased bills are due to increased usage, not increased rates.
As we have said in previous months, we are fortunate to be able to say the electrical system held up very well, with very few outages as a result of the cold. In addition, there were no shortages of available electricity, our power suppliers had adequate generation available to meet the increased needs. The system improvements which have been made in recent years, as well as your willingness to let us cut and trim trees in the right of ways, have made the electrical system much more reliable.
The Benefits of Levelized Billing
Every few months we promote our Levelized Billing program in the Rural Missouri. The high electric usage of the past few months has resulted in very large bills for many of our members. This has been the very type of situation Levelized Billing is intended for. With Levelized Billing you can avoid the winter and summer highs in your bill by averaging your amount due each month. The amount is based on an average of the last twelve months’ usage and changes each month as your usage fluctuates, but you never have the settle up month you have with budget billing. Levelized Billing doesn’t reduce your overall electric expenses; it simply levels out your monthly electric bills, making the highest usage months more manageable. If you think Levelized Billing could be right for you please contact our Billing department at 785-4631 or 1-800-392-0567 (toll free).