Need Help Paying Your Utility Bills?
Assistance is available for both gas and electric bills. Assistance may be a bill reduction and/or a set monthly payment based on income. Eligibility for these programs is usually based on household income and may be available from your utility company and/or from a local service organization. Find more information in the Florida Public Service Commission’s Utility Assistance in Florida booklet.
Budget Billing Controls Your Monthly Bill
What is Budget Billing?
Fluctuating seasonal temperatures and associated energy usage can influence monthly energy bills. In addition to following conservation tips, consumers can take advantage of budget billing to offset increased energy costs for heating during the winter months and cooling during the summer months. Budget billing is a program, offered by Florida’s regulated electric and natural gas companies, that spreads out the cost of energy used during high-demand times of the year. Instead of seeing an increase in winter heating bills or summer cooling bills, budget billing breaks down total yearly usage into manageable monthly bills.
How Does Budget Billing Work?
Your utility company will review your usage history. Based on that information and expected energy prices, the company will determine your monthly bill amount. You will pay that amount throughout the budget billing period, which usually runs from August through July. Some companies offer different programs, such as quarterly budget billing. At the end of the budget period the company will review your actual usage, which may cost more or less than your budget amount. This is called a “true-up” or settlement. The true-up makes sure that what you paid on the budget plan matches what you actually used during the budget period. You may either receive a credit if you paid too much during the budget period, or have to pay the difference if you did not pay enough during the budget period. The company will then adjust your budget payment for the next period based on the previous period’s actual usage.
How Do I Sign Up for Budget Billing?
Contact your natural gas or electric utility company. They can provide you with specific information. Each utility company may have different budget periods and budget plans available. Be sure to ask when the budget period begins and when adjustments to your budget amount can be made. Since budget periods usually begin in August, the later in the year you sign up, the higher your budget amount will be.
Energy and Water Conservation Tips
All households rely on electric, natural gas, and water utilities to meet basic, everyday needs. As the price of energy and water services fluctuates, so does the cost for these necessities. Many households are looking for ways to reduce the cost of their utilities.
By practicing energy and water conservation, you can develop habits to reduce your usage and save money on your utility bills. Whether you own your home or rent, there are a number of things you can do to save on the energy and water you use throughout your day.
The following PSC brochures provide helpful energy and water conservation tips: Conserve Your World, Drop by Drop, the Conservation House. Begin conservation habits early with the PSC’s Get Wise and Conserve Florida, designed for children and students.
Call Before You Dig
The Florida Public Service Commission reminds residents to call 8-1-1, the Sunshine State One Call Center, before starting any digging project, large or small. The federally mandated 8-1-1 number helps prevent diggers from unintentionally hitting underground utility lines, often resulting in injuries, property damage, and inconvenient outages.
An 8-1-1 call notifies affected utility companies to dispatch crews to mark your underground utility lines. Utility markings show those who dig the approximate location of underground lines to help prevent undesired consequences.
For more information on Call Before You Dig, visit www.call811.com or access the PSC’s Consumer Tip, 8-1-1 Know What’s Below.
Hurricane Season Preparation
Hurricane Season runs from June through November–half the year! The PSC holds a Hurricane Preparedness workshop each spring to make sure Florida’s utility companies are completing their storm hardening projects.
Florida’s utility companies are prepared…are you? Fortunately, the PSC also has information to help residents prepare for storm season. Here is some helpful information on Hurricane Preparedness and Portable Generator Safety, as well as some tips from the PSC’s Hurricane House.
Before every hurricane season, regardless of the forecast, knowing how to prepare can give you and your family peace of mind and help you stay safe.
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