Members may have seen recent news that Dominion Energy is requesting a 7.75% rate increase for customers to take effect next year. We want to assure our members that this rate increase applies to Dominion customers only.
Berkeley Electric Cooperative has no plans for a rate increase this year and has made no adjustments for COVID except to suspend late fees and disconnects. Members who are interested in our current rate summary can access it through the Member Portal on our website. A Smarthub account is required to access the member portal.
HIGH BILLS NOT RESULT OF RATES
We have also been seeing concerns about high bills this month (August) possibly being related to a rate increase and wanted to help clarify some misconceptions.
Your electric bill is calculated based on rates and kWh usage. Berkeley Electric has not raised or adjusted its rates in 3 years and the only change we have made for COVID, besides those noted above, is to refund residential deposits and issue an early refund of Capital Credits. You can see that for yourself by looking at the base rate and the kWh usage on your last several bills. That means these higher bills are the result of increased usage.
The most likely cause was a recent period of hot weather. Compared to May/June, there was a 50-60% increase in cooling needs compared to July/August.
The average daily temperature also went from 83 degrees to 91 degrees. This means that even if you set your thermostat to the recommended 78 degrees and left it there, your air conditioner would still be running longer than normal trying to cool your home. Remember that heating and cooling accounts for approximately 50% of your electric bill each month.
To control your usage, we recommend downloading the free Smarthub app to check your electric use daily or even hourly. It also has graphs that illustrate the effect of weather on your bill.
Another option is to switch to pre-paid billing that calculates your usage and sends you a daily balance. If you still have concerns about your bill, Berkeley offers free virtual energy audits.