Summer utility bills could be higher than normal this year - WSMV Channel 4

Summer utility bills could be higher than normal this year

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Sky-high utility bills caught many people in Middle Tennessee by surprise this winter, and electric bills are expected to be even higher this summer.

Plus, if you were among those who needed assistance, you may not be able to get help again.

Fatima Jones is a single mom who is already budgeting for keeping cool this summer.

"It is already scorching at my place," she said.

Metro Action Commission offers assistance on utilities, but the agency is left waiting until the end of the month when it will receive another $1.8 million to help an additional 4,000 people in Davidson County.

"We have about 700 or so families on the waiting list," said Lisa McCrady, with the Metro Action Commission.

And whether you need assistance or not, you'll likely see your electric bill go up this summer. Natural gas levels are low due to the brutally cold winter, and the supply needs to be replenished in order to keep your air conditioning running.

There are a couple of things that will hurt storage facilities as they try to rebuild their natural gas supplies. First, a hotter than normal summer could mean more air conditioning usage, thus lowering the supply.

Or, if it is an active hurricane season, that would hinder gas production in the Gulf of Mexico.

So when you get your electric bill, take a look at the line labeled "fuel cost adjustment."

If fuel costs are high, that fee will go up, too.

Tennessee Valley Authority officials say their plan is to use more hydroelectric power than natural gas to help offset costs.

As for Metro Action Commission, they're still accepting applications.

"And based on things such as your income level and the amount of children you may have, that determines what the award amount may be. So it can be anywhere from $300-600," McCrady said.

You can only get that help once a year, and that money is paid directly to the utility company.

"I don't know what half the people would do without their assistance. It's absolutely wonderful to have someone to have your back when you've fallen," Jones said.

TVA passed along some tips to help you reduce your energy bill:

  • Raise the thermostat temperature one degree to cut your bill by up to five percent.
  • Most people can still stay comfortable with an inside temperature of 78 degrees.
  • Close drapes and blinds to help block out the sun and keep the indoor temperature lower.

If you need assistance with your utility bill in Nashville, visit: http://www.nashville.gov/Metro-Action-Commission.aspx.

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