Each month I spend time paying bills. Even though Susan maintains our budget and household finances, I find paying the bills keeps me aware of what we spend money on. My love of numbers and historical trends also extends into analyzing different bills we receive. The most complicated and challenging to analyze is the Duke Energy bill. This bill is filled with a generation section, distribution section, special riders, usage, number of days in billing cycle, and variable rates in summer or winter. Add to that the complexity of weather and comparisons from year to year (See Sprung 3/21/13).
Deregulation has provided cost savings by alternate energy providers (our community negotiates a common provider - recently DPL with a simplified rate of $.0455 per Kwh. However that is only half of the bill. Duke charges another approximately $.04 per Kwh - why approximate? Because of all the special riders, and fixed charges for the deregulation. So our blended rate varies between $.086 to $.089 per Kwh.
Duke was authorized by the PUCO to increase their rates in May - with the following note:
This represents $3.72 per month (3.3%) for residential customers using 1000 kWh, effective for usage on or after 5-6-13. The residential customer charge increases from $5.50 to $6.00 per month.
Sounds modest right? NOT! The rate per Kwh (without riders) went from $.022126 to $.025343 which is a 14.5% increase. If you add in the blend of fixed charges ($5.50 to $6.00) and the variable additional rider costs my rate increased 24%! Hmmmmmm I call that inflation - not deflation.
How easy it is to assume that an infinitesimal change in Kwh rate (to the third decimal) will have only minor impact on your utility bill. But that is the goal - take your pennies a fraction at a time and you won't miss your dollars!
Remember pennies add to dollars.