Cold to blame for electric bill spikes

Mayor: Rates have not changed

Minden residents are reporting significant increases in their electric bills for the month of January. Mayor Tommy Davis spoke to the Press-Herald Thursday to briefly address this concern.

Davis said several locals have already asked him about this topic. He said the rise in bills simply corresponds with a rise in usage due to the frigid month.

“It’s the cold weather,” he said. “The rates have not changed, they’re still the same. When I first came into office four years ago, we had the same situation because we had a very, very cold winter. A lot of people heat with electric heat, and some electric heat is not efficient heat. So that’s the reason: the only thing that’s changed is the amount of usage.”

Davis said problems with meter reports are less likely than ever due to digital meters that have been recently installed around the city.

“Now we’re able to pull up each individual meter on the computer and see the usage,” he said. “It’s very accurate and read on a timely basis. It’s not dependent on weather and weekends anymore. Before, people’s days on their usage might be 29 days on this month and then next month 35 days, and now they’re being read on a very timely basis because they’re done on the radio feed.”

Not only are the digital meters helping to optimize reports, they’re helping the city’s efficiency, Davis said.

“They’ve been very good,” he said. “We’ve been able to go from five people in the meter-reading department down to two.

They’re simply doing cut-ons and cutoffs mainly – they’re reading very few meters. We’re down to about 30 electric meters and maybe 150 water meters we’re manually reading out of about 13,000. Percentage-wise we’re manually reading very few meters.”
Davis said the installation project is widespread but not quite finished.

“We started a little over a year ago, and it was a project that took about a year for those meters to be put in. Now they’re all in except for those that I mentioned. Our goal is to be 100% [digital] at some time.”

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