We have had questions from some of you lately about your recent electricity bills. Some of you said your bills were higher than usual, and wanted to understand why. Others asked when and how we do an estimate instead of an actual reading, since in some cases your January bills were based on an estimate.
First, to the question about the higher than normal bills. Please note we can only address queries from Yukon Energy customers; if you receive your power bill from Yukon Electrical Company Limited and have specific questions, you will need to contact YECL.
The bill you received in January was for energy consumption during December. As you know, it was a very cold month, and for some people it meant needing to plug in vehicles more often than usual. Added to that is the fact that at Christmas, most people tend to use more electricity. There is often more cooking done in the home and more use of electric lights. You may have guests, or children home from university, meaning more hot water is used; hot water can be a big draw on electricity.
During cold weather, some people tend to supplement their home heating by using small portable electric heaters. You may not be aware that those heaters use a large amount of power....perhaps $50 a month or more.
Because of the holiday schedule, your meter was read after 34 or 35 days instead of the usual 29 or 30 days. The longer time between meter readings can account for some of the bill increase.
On top of that, the Yukon Utilities Board approved an interim rate increase of 3.75 percent that went into effect on Jan. 1st, so that too will have been reflected on your most recent bill.
Now an explanation about estimates: we do our very best to read meters every month. However if we can't get to your meter for some reason, our system does an estimate. For example, there was an estimate done in early January for some of the communities we serve because it was -50 and we didn't want to send our meter readers out in such cold weather. Another reason we may have to do an estimate is because there is something preventing us from getting to your meter (a locked gate perhaps, an aggressive dog, or a path that has not been cleared of snow).
In doing an estimate, our system is set up to use the previous year’s usage. For instance, if you used approximately 12,000 kW last year, the system would take that number, divide it by 365 days and then multiply it by 30 days to come up with the figure for the month (in this case 986 kW). The next time your meter is read, we take your actual energy usage and true it up with the estimate gathered from the previous month.
We hope this helps you understand your electric bill. We are planning to travel to Faro, Dawson and Mayo (where most of our customers live) sometime next month to give people an opportunity to sit down with us and go over their bills face to face. Watch this blog for further details.