Just ask

The Compass - - EDITORIAL - This edi­to­rial orig­i­nally ap­peared in The Tele­gram

In 2009, at a U.S. com­mit­tee hear­ing on re­new­able en­ergy, Rep. Joe Bar­ton of Texas sug­gested wind is a fi­nite re­source, and that tur­bines might “slow down” air move­ment and make tem­per­a­tures rise.

More re­cently, a re­tired sci­ence teacher in North Carolina stood up at a pub­lic meet­ing and com­plained a town plan to in­stall more so­lar pan­els would steal the sun’s en­ergy away from nearby plants.

Few of us are this naive about how en­ergy re­ally works.

But most of us are still mys­ti­fied at how the power com­pany cal­cu­lates our monthly bills.

That be­came ev­i­dent here when a let­ter re­cently pub­lished in The Tele­gram gar­nered dozens of re­sponses from kin­dred spir­its.

The pri­mary ques­tions: why is it - when you’re mak­ing ef­forts to turn ap­pli­ances down and even off to pre­serve en­ergy - your bill can ac­tu­ally go up?

In an­swer, The Tele­gram’s Ash­ley Fitz­patrick con­tacted New­found­land Power for the straight goods. Her story ap­peared in last Tues­day’s Tele­gram.

The vast ma­jor­ity of queries about power bills oc­cur in the win­ter.

Bills might go up for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons. It could be that leav­ing the house for an ex­tended pe­riod with only a heater or two on low won’t pro­duce the de­sired re­sult. Heaters in rooms that aren’t closed off may end up work­ing over­time to heat other sec­tions of the house, thereby de­feat­ing the pur­pose.

Other fac­tors, such as light­ing, cook­ing and even body heat con­trib­ute to keep­ing a house warm.

More of­ten, how­ever, the rea­son for an un­ex­pect­edly high bill is that us­age for that house­hold was es­ti­mated.

Me­ter read­ers don’t get to ev­ery prop­erty each month. Of­ten the bill is es­ti­mated, and may con­tinue to be un­til the next time a phys­i­cal read­ing is taken. At that point, the com­pany will ad­just the next bill to ac­count for in­ac­cu­rate es­ti­mates.

The most im­por­tant mes­sage from New­found­land Power, how­ever, is this: ask.

That’s right. Call them and ask. And don’t just as­sume they are in the wrong and just try­ing to gouge you. Of­ten there’s a sim­ple an­swer.

Even when there isn’t, they are will­ing to send some­one to your house to in­ves­ti­gate and of­fer ex­pla­na­tions.

One more thing: as Muskrat Falls comes on stream and prices con­tinue to soar - as pre­dicted - there are bound to be more and more queries about bills.

More than ever, this is one time when cool, calm heads - and clear an­swers - are cru­cial.

Call them and ask. And don’t just as­sume they are in the wrong and just try­ing to gouge you. Of­ten there’s a sim­ple an­swer.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.