Utility bills keep rising with temperatures

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 19, 2000

Features Editor

July 17, 2000 10 PM

Like the temperature, electric bills ae rising, but most people aren’t complaining about cost if paying more keeps them cool.

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With daytime temperatures pushing into the triple digits and night temperatures sticking around in the 80s, most Pike County residents are happy not to have to sweat and swelter at home – even if it costs a few pennies more – even a few dollars more.

But the worst is yet to come.

July is historically hotter than June and August beats them both. With local utility companies just beginning to read meters for July, no figures are available that reflect the rising temperatures of mid-summer. But, it’s safe to say that residents should expect to see the effects of the heat wave on their July utility bills, said Wilma Price, utility manager for the city of Brundidge.

"We almost always see an increase in usage in July and it’s almost a certainty in August," Price said. "August is traditionally the month of our greatest utility usage and I think we can expect this year to be the same – or worse."

Brundidge gets its electricity from Alabama Electric Cooperative in Andalusia and its 1,019 residential customers pay a basic fee of $7.50 and 6 cents per kilowatt hour.

Price said in May, Brundidge residential customers used 980,345 kilowatt hours. The number increased to 1,300,872 kilowatt hours in June.

Compared to last year, usage was up in both months but not dramatically, Price said.

In May 1999, Brundidge residential customers used 889,740 kilowatt hours and, in June 1999, they used 1,241,730 kilowatt hours.

The same pattern of usage was reflected among residential customers in Troy.

The city of Troy gets its electricity from Alabama Power Company and Troy’s 5,500 residential customers pay a basic fee of $5 and 6 cents per kilowatt hour. However, according to the Brian Morgan, utility manager for the city of Troy, figures show a rather large increase in usage between the May and June 2000 billings and between the June 1999 and June 2000 billings.

In May 2000, Troy residential customers used 4,911,751 kilowatt hours. In June that number increased to 7,125,537 kilowatt hours.

Morgan said that size increase is not unusual during the summer months.

"We can expect an increase of another million kilowatt hours in July and another increase in August which is traditionally the highest usage month," he said.

In June of 1999, the total residential kilowatt hours used in Troy were 5,916,332.

"We also had a rather good jump in usage between June of 1999 and June 2000," Morgan said. "That increase was due to growth and the hot, dry weather. We’ll probably see a big increase between the July and August 1999 bills and the 2000 bills if the temperatures continue to stay around the 100 degree mark."

The South Alabama Electric Co-op reported that 14,234 members used 14,989,031 kilowatt hours of electricity in May 2000 and that figure jumped to 19,878,885 in June.

Both figures were up considerably from 1999 when rural electric residents used 12,640,439 kilowatt hours in May and 16,888,355 in June.