The price of electricity doesn’t always change month to month, but the amount of electricity we use often does, and understanding the factors that drive or reduce how much we use can be helpful in managing our household budgets.
Xcel Energy is now offering information tailored to individual customers that helps them understand the factors that affect electricity use and the total amount they pay for electricity. About 400,000 customers across Xcel Energy’s eight-state service area have been receiving short video explanations of their monthly billing that explain how factors such as weather, price changes, energy-use changes and even a shorter or longer billing cycle can lead to these differences.
“Our customers tell us they want more information on managing their monthly energy costs, and we have found that these short video explainers are effective ways to help customers understand how their billing amount could have changed noticeably in a month’s time,” said Shawn Bielke, product portfolio manager in Xcel Energy’s Customer Experience group.
The customers who are receiving these emails have experienced a billing change of at least $15 over or under the previous month’s billing, and who have opted to receive email communications from the company.
Bielke pointed out that many times the month-to-month fluctuations are weather related, especially during more extreme weather seasons, because weather affects the amount of electricity customers use to heat and cool their homes.
“For instance, if your July bill is higher than the June bill, you’re likely using your air conditioner more than you were the previous month to beat the heat, and the video estimates how much of the increase is likely related to cooling your home.”
If a bill is lower than the previous month, the explainer videos also estimate how much of that savings was related to actions the homeowner might have taken to use energy more efficiently. This can help validate customer efforts to control costs by managing thermostats better or adding more efficient appliances.
Xcel Energy offers several programs that help customers use energy more efficiently. In Texas and New Mexico, customers can go to www.xcelenergyefficiency.com to get more details or find links to energy saving tips.