Digging Deeper: Your utility bill, how to keep it down - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Digging Deeper: Your utility bill, how to keep it down

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Triple digit temperatures and it's not even summer have many worried how high utility bills will climb. 

May was on average 3.3 degrees above where temperatures typically are.  You would think utility bills are up.  We're digging deeper into your utility bill to see what these hot, dry conditions are doing to water and electric bills.  When we questioned whether usage was up we got a probably from officials who helped us check the numbers. When we checked those numbers they were lower than we thought, making us wonder if people really are conserving.

Dry, hot conditions have more people watering their lawns and turning down their thermostats to try to keep cool.

"I've tried to keep it on 78 or 80," said Brenda Bush, a homeowner.

"It's hot and it's hard to maintain a cool house with the weather being the way it is," said Sennica Harris, a homeowner.

We decided to check the numbers to see if water usage and electricity are up.

"We pumped 17 million gallons a day in May, we are allowed by the state of Georgia to pump 34 million gallons a day, so you can see it's well under what we're even allowed to pump," said Lorie Farkas, WG&L Assistant General Manager.

That's up from 3 million gallons a day from April, but not the 19 million gallons pumped several years ago during the drought. Water, Gas, and Light officials attribute the lower numbers to people taking action to conserve.

"People have learned to be conservative, they've learned to watch what they're doing, they're really being good stewards of the water," said Farkas.

"The grass is turning brown because I'm not watering it because of the electric bill so," said Harris.

Digging Deeper we learned the electric and gas bill tend to be the highest amount on your utility bill. What can you do to keep that amount down? Keep your drapes and blinds closed during the day, check and change your air filter on a regular basis and keep the lights off during the day.

"If you will turn a fan on low, it won't work on any other temperature, in the room aimed toward where the air conditioning vent is, it sucks the moisture out of the air and so even though your house is set at 78 degrees which is what the federal government recommends, you don't have that prickly feeling of the heat," said Farkas.

The low humidity could also be helping, people tend to turn the air down when humidity is higher. Water Gas and Light officials say having more people in your home also makes a difference. A home with just two people tends to always have lower bills than a home with ten.

 Water, Gas, and Light officials reminded up customers will also see an increase in their utility and water bills this summer. For a home with a 150 dollar electric bill they'll see a $7.50 increase and water rates will increase 50 cents to $9.71 for three thousand gallons.

WG&L Officials say not enough people take advantage of their free energy audit. They hope more people will take advantage of a chance to find out where you could save a little on your utility bill.

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