Shockwave over electric bills - Republic-Times | News

Shockwave over electric bills

By on August 1, 2018 at 3:43 pm

Waterloo City Hall received an abundance of calls last week from residents questioning their June electric bills.

The city is still in the process of replacing existing electric meters in town with updated technology that allows city workers to read meters electronically and provide more consistent billing.

Waterloo finance director Shawn Kennedy explained that depending on the date the new metering system was installed at their homes, affected residents could have been billed for up to 37 days this period. 

Combine that with one of the hottest Junes on recent record and it is a recipe for a higher-than-average utility bill.

“Some have an extra seven days on their bill, and they were a hot seven days,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy assured residents there has been no rate increase as a result of the new metering technology. 

In fact, the rate was 13.5 cents per kilowatt hour in June 2017 compared to 13 cents per kilowatt hour in June 2018.

The “double whammy,” as Kennedy put it, of high temps and added billing days only applied to those who had their meters changed out during that billing cycle.

For other city residents, the hotter-than-normal June alone resulted in higher bills. 

“It’s simply more consumption driving these bills up,” she said.

She said June featured 16 days above 90 degrees and only five days below 85 degrees for the afternoon highs.

On average, homes that did not yet have their meters changed out saw a 20 percent higher electric bill this June compared to that of June 2017.

The city began replacing old electric meters in May and have about 50 percent of them installed.

With the old metering system, Kennedy said there would typically be a four-day window on the front or back end of each month to account for when a meter reader could get out to the home and physically read the meter.

The installation of new meters provides for a more consistent billing period due to them being read electronically. In fact, Kennedy said the city can view each resident’s daily usage and show them how much electricity they are using. 

As part of the metering change out, workers take a photo of the old meter with its final reading and also take a photo of the newly installed meter (showing all zeros), Kennedy explained.

Anyone with questions about their June electric bills can call Waterloo City Hall at 939-8600.

Kennedy said once all of the electric meters are changed out, the city will also upgrade all gas and water meters to the same electronic system.

Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.