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City: Lower temps bring higher bills

While playing in the snow is lots of fun, the city of Farmington is reminding residents that with cold weather comes the potential for higher than normal electric usage. That means higher utility bills. City Administrator Greg Beavers offers several suggestions to help save money on utilities during the winter.

The city of Farmington is reminding residents to expect higher than normal electric usage during times of cold winter temperatures.

According to Farmington City Administrator Greg Beavers, during periods of extended cold weather, residential energy demand and consumption general increases to maintain indoor air temperatures.

Utility customers with either electric or natural gas heat may see an impact on their electric bill as a result of higher than normal electric usage required to heat their homes.

"Farmington does not increase the utility rates seasonally and higher utility bills are a result of greater energy use by individual customers," Beavers said. "The per-kilowatt hour of electric consumption charged by the city is stable and has not been increased since 2013.

"The city purchases wholesale energy through the Missouri Public Energy Pool which has both ownership position and long term energy contracts from a number of resources to help ensure price stability."

He noted that customers can help reduce electric bills by taking a few simple steps to reduce their energy usage:

• Adjust the thermostat. Lowering the thermostat just a few degrees can save several dollars each month on a utility bill.

• Turn down the hot water heater. Make sure the water is not being heated to more than 120 degrees.

• Unplug appliances and electronics that are not being used. The U.S. Department of Energy says that 5-10 percent of a typical energy bill is due to appliances that are plugged in 24 hours a day.

• Keep homes sealed tight. Install weather stripping around windows and doors and install insulation pads behind outlet covers on exterior walls.

• Install plastic coverings over windows where needed to prevent drafts.

Finally, anyone who is unable to pay their utility bill may be eligible for financial assistance or a deferred payment plan. Contact the City Light and Water Office at 110 W. Columbia or call 573-756-2610.

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