New Power Bill
Jon Cullimore is general manager of Coosa Valley Electric Cooperative
My wife and I recently purchased a new home — or at least a home that’s new to us — and as of the writing of this article, we’ve been in it about a week. Moving into this new place got me to thinking about what kind of difference we might see on our power bill. At Coosa Valley Electric, we get calls regularly from consumers questioning why their power bill increased so much when they moved into a new home.
The short answer is no two homes use energy the same way. The long answer is more complicated and becomes even more so when they move from another electric utility, such as Alabama Power, to our system. People tend to think we charge more for our electricity, but I can honestly say that’s not the case.
At one time, our rates were slightly higher than Alabama Power but not by much. For the past 10 or more years, we have been within a few mils of each other. The past few years, Coosa Valley Electric has actually been cheaper.
So, what does that leave? The home itself. Differences in insulation, windows, the heating and cooling systems, the appliances and their locations and the size of the home can all greatly impact your power bill.
I knew we would see an increase in our electricity usage with the new place. It is somewhat larger than the last one. It has a larger heating and cooling system and a few other things that can contribute to higher energy consumption.
Before buying the home, I spoke with the previous owner, and I was able to climb around in the attic. From what I’ve seen, and based on the previous owner’s account, the new home is very well-insulated — probably a little better than our last one. This should help keep our power bills under control.
Something that’s helping me track consumption from the get-go is that I’m on SmartPay. This makes it very easy for me to view our power consumption.
Every day I get text messages and emails showing how much electricity we’ve used and how much it costs. If you are not using our SmartPay program, I highly recommend it. The information alone is worth the $6 a month it costs. We are able to use that information to help us be more efficient and save money on power.
Looking at daily consumption reports, I can say that so far I’ve been pleasantly surprised. While our electricity usage is higher it’s not by much, especially considering what all the new home offers us.
If you are considering buying a new home where we provide electric service, reach out to our member services department. In most cases, we can look at the previous owners’ usage and give you the average monthly cost. It won’t tell you everything, but it will give you an idea of what you can expect.
As you look at homes and locations, please keep our subsidiary companies in mind, as well.
Coosa Valley Propane can supply all your propane needs. We sell and can even install heaters, gas logs and other propane-using appliances.
Coosa Valley Technologies offers the fastest, most reliable broadband internet services of any provider in our area. We are growing quickly and already serve more than 3,000 customers. By the end of this year, we should be able to serve more than 95% of our electric consumers with the remaining 5% to be ready within 18 months.
Buying a home can be rewarding, but it can also be very stressful. Don’t let a high power bill shock you. Arm yourself with information.