PUC offers suggestions to cope with winter utility bills

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission reminds consumers that lower winter temperatures will be followed by higher heating bills and offers suggestions to keep the cold at bay and the bills manageable this season.

The higher dollar amount reflected in winter utility bills correlates to higher usage, not higher rates. More energy is being used to heat homes and to keep lights on longer during the shorter days of winter.

Rather than be overwhelmed by winter energy bills, the PUC suggests consumers be prepared by taking personal steps to be energy efficient and working with their utility to explore billing options. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Ensure your heating system is running efficiently by changing filters and having it serviced on a regular basis.
  • Contact your utility about a balanced billing program. With balanced billing (also called budget billing or even payment billing), a customer is billed an average amount each month regardless of their actual energy use. The utility works with the customer to determine the monthly payment, based on historical account information. Balanced billing is a budgeting tool, not a discount. Customers must meet criteria to participate in budget billing programs.

Utility customers are encouraged to contact their energy provider if they have concerns about their monthly bill. The electric and natural gas companies in South Dakota have knowledgeable customer service representatives who are available to answer questions and address concerns.

Find more information about energy efficiency at www.SDEnergySmart.com and budget billing at www.puc.sd.gov/consumer.

Information from the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission
January 2018