The true story behind the huge August utility bill

From the Publisher Jay Nolan
From the Publisher
Jay Nolan

Have you opened your utility bill yet? Odds are, it will be a real shocker.

It almost makes me wish I worked for a tabloid or some Internet blog instead of a respectable newspaper. Those folks could write something silly and catchy like: “Local hospital ER is filled with heart attack patients, as citizens open their August utility bill” or ‘Rumors flying around the courthouse: No one will get re-elected’ because “everything is the government’s fault and utility bills are up 20%.” 

While fun to read, and write, that is simply not true.

Since I do work for a respectable community newspaper, we will only put something in print or online that is true.  To discover the truth, I did some foot work and research. Why do so many of us have higher utility bills?

As it turns out, there are three reasons, according to Barbourville Utility Commission manager Josh Callahan. First and foremost is the temperature. August was a very hot month. Lots of daytime highs went well into the 90’s and many think this August was more hot and humid than even August last year. “Power usage was up about 20%” Josh tells me. Secondly, BUC customers had 5 extra days on this invoice. While they aim for a 30-day billing cycle every month, sometimes due to holidays, weekends and such, the actual days in each billing cycle change. It could range from a low of 28 to this months high of 35. Those 5 extra days add 17% to your bill right off the bat.

Third, Kentucky Utilities adjusts their wholesale energy cost to BUC and others each July. The last few years it was a small 2-3% increase. This July, KU raised the wholesale rate 11%! So, the PCA item on your BUC bill went up by about one-half cent, or approximately 7% on each bill.   All 3 combined hit our pocketbooks really hard.

No one likes higher bills. But after having our air conditioner go out at the Advocate for 3 weeks this summer, I for one certainly appreciate having air conditioning!

I think having the truth, and also having 30 days or less in the next billing cycle, is welcome news. What do you think?