City of Hearne enters into lower electricity rate deal

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Dennis Phillips
Robertson County News

The City of Hearne adopted a new rate schedule that will lower utilities rates by as much as .02100¢ per Kwh. Currently Hearne utility customers are paying .12996¢ per Kwh. Customers will continue to pay this rate through 2014.
Starting January 1, 2015 the rate will lower to .12496¢ and continue through December 31, 2015. The rates will drop again in January 2016 to .11729¢ per Kwh and will remain fixed until January 1, 2019.
Utility customers will see a final rate reduction starting January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2020, paying .10896¢ per Kwh.
The agreement was the work of City Manager Pee Wee Drake and Mayor Ruben Gomez. As complaints constantly flood City Hall, both the Mayor and City Manager have been working for weeks to get a lower rate deal for city utility customers.
When compared to other sources, Hearne’s current rate is higher, but the new power deal will lower utility customer rates below that of other area providers.
Currently, Navasota Valley Co-Op customers are paying .1168¢ per Kwh. Lower than Hearne’s current rate. Entergy customers; .1244¢ per KwH. The average household uses on an average of 1500 Kwh’s per month.
The contract entered into by American Electric Power and the City of Hearne is for a reduction in cost to consumers. AEP cannot raise the rates and only a negotiation for even lower rates will alter this contract.
Tips to lower your electric bill:
• Seal up the house. There is money leaking through cracks around the doors and windows. It’s simple enough to buy caulk and weather-stripping to seal cracks. According to Consumer Reports, sealing leaks can reduce energy costs by 15 to 30%.
• Use heat-generating appliances at night. A hot oven in the heat of the day forces the AC to work harder to keep the house at a comfortable temperature. The same goes for clothes dryers and dishwashers. Use these at night when outside temps are cooler.
• Wash laundry with cold water. Washing clothing in cold water instead of hot can save $152 per year.
• Air-dry clothing. Line-drying laundry reduces the average daily electricity cost from $2.50 to $1.85.
• Turn on fans. Fans make a room feel cooler, and this can save you $438 per year.
• Unplug electronics. Phone chargers and camera battery chargers and all electronic devices that are not in use. Consumer Reports found that you can save $25 to $75 each year just by putting your computer on standby.
• Consider your light bulbs. Turn off lights you aren’t using to save $274 a year; turn off a single 100-watt light bulb from running constantly to save $131 per year; and replace ten 60-watt light bulbs with compact fluorescents to save $123 per year.
• Don’t cool an empty house. If you have a programmable thermostat, program it.
• Close off rooms you aren’t occupying, as well.
• Replace air filters monthly. Dirty filters restrict airflow, causing the AC system to run longer and use more energy.

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