AARP Kansas is fighting to save you money on your utility bills and wants you to be an informed and engaged consumer.
See Also: Fighting to Save You Money on Utilities
In order to be informed, you should be sure to examine your monthly utility bills. Comparing them with the previous month’s bill helps you to know what charges went up and in what areas. If there is a spike in the amount charged in a certain area with no explanation, contact the company to find out why. Understanding what to look for on your bill can help you identify errors and allow you to monitor your energy usage. Utility bills differ by energy type (electricity, natural gas, etc.), however there is some key information you should look for when reading your bill.
Some major categories on your bill include:
- Electric base rate and fuel charge – These charges are both based on the amount of energy consumed in your home. The “base rate” takes into account your energy usage and the costs needed to produce it. The fuel charge covers the cost of fuel to run the utility’s power plants and will vary throughout the year.
- Gas delivery and fuel charges – These are also based on the amount of energy consumed in your home and will generally make up the largest portion of the bill.
- Basic or Customer Charge – A flat fee covering routine business and administrative costs.
- Extra Fees and Surcharges – Your bill may include miscellaneous charges for a wide variety of things such as upgrades to infrastructure, installation of smart meters, fees for renewable energy, and more.
- Taxes – Any federal, state and local taxes will be included on your bill.
If you have questions about your bill, be sure to contact the utility company. Their number is listed on your bill. If you don’t find the answers you need, you can contact the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) which regulates your home energy utilities and tries to balance the interests of consumers and service providers. You can go to the KCC to find services, help with understanding your energy bills, file a complaint, comment on a case, and find out about public hearings and other information.
You have a right to voice your concerns about utility issues to the KCC. You can speak in person at a public meeting or provide comments by phone or in writing. The KCC can be reached by calling toll-free 1-800-662-0027 or in Topeka, 785-271-3140. Or you can reach them by e-mail at email@example.com or by writing to: KCC-Consumer Protection, 1500 SW Arrowhead Road, Topeka, KS, 66604.
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