Emotions run high for Princeville residents still recovering from Matthew – WNCT 9

I see this was another heated meeting. Look like I missed a good one.

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City of Rocky Mount offers aid for utility bills

The city of Rocky Mount has experienced an increase in customer calls related to high energy bills due to this winter’s extremely cold weather. Customers having difficulty paying their utility bills are encouraged to call Customer Service at (252) 972-1250 as they may be eligible for pay arrangements and/or assistance programs.

January 2018 was the coldest month in Rocky Mount since December 2010 and the coldest January since 1988. The average high in Rocky Mount for the month of January was 48 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average low was 26 degrees Fahrenheit. When temperatures are low, heating systems must work harder and use more energy to maintain the temperature set by the thermostat. The lower the thermostat setting, the less energy used. The city recommends setting the thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit or lower during winter months. Customers can also save energy by opening the blinds or curtains during the day, changing air filters monthly and caulking or weather-stripping around doors and windows.

To help customers learn more ways to save energy in their homes, the city offers a free Energy Audit Program for all city of Rocky Mount customers. Energy audits include a complete walk-through of the home, including the attic and crawl space, to look for potential energy savings. Customers receive a free energy kit that includes a variety of energy-saving tools, such as light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs and weather-stripping. Customers also receive a report with the auditors’ findings and recommendations. To schedule a free in-home energy audit, customers may call Customer Service at (252) 972-1250.

Another way to save money on energy costs is by improving the home’s weatherization. Energy Share is a weatherization rebate program available for all city of Rocky Mount residential utility customers where the energy source of the home’s heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment is city electric or natural gas service. Through Energy Share, customers can receive a cash rebate of up to $500 for work related to attic weatherization (e.g. adding insulation), $250 for improving ductwork and/or up to $1,000 for replacing the HVAC system. For information about Energy Share or to apply, customers may call (252) 972-1102. Energy Share is available for homeowners and renters, and customers may receive benefits for up to five properties per year. There are no income regulations, but funds are limited.

The city decreased its electric rates by an overall 5 percent in July 2017 due to lower wholesale power costs. In addition to lowering rates, the city increased the billing credits available through the Load Management Program from $129 per year to $225 per year. By having Load Management switches installed, residential electric customers receive the following credits: $7.50 per month for the water heater control switch; $15.00 per month for five winter months for the heat pump heat strip control switch; and $20 per month for three summer months for the air conditioning control switch. There is no cost for the switches or installation. Participation in the Load Management Program is voluntary, and customers choose which switches to have installed. Customers may call (252) 467-4803 or visit www.rockymountnc.gov/loadmanagement to have Load Management switches installed.

The average monthly residential electric bill for customers who use 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity and have all three Load Management switches is $104.33. Compared to the city’s surrounding utility providers, including Duke Energy Progress and Dominion, the city of Rocky Mount has the lowest residential electric costs. The average city of Rocky Mount electric customer pays 24 percent less than the United States average. To view the city’s electric rate comparison information, customers are encouraged to visit www.rockymountnc.gov/electric_rates.

Payment programs are also available for customers who prefer either a fixed monthly payment or a specific date on which utility payments are due. Through the Equal Pay Program, the customer’s annual energy usage is spread over 11 equal payments. The customer’s account is reviewed during the twelfth month at which time the customer will either receive a refund for overpayment or pay the difference if there is underpayment. Customers also have a choice in their due date through the Due Date Option Program. Customers may choose to have either the 7th, 14th, 21st or 28th day of the month as their utility bill due date. To request more information or to sign up for either the Equal Pay Program or the Due Date Option Program, customers may call Customer Service at (252) 972-1250, email customerservice@rockymountnc.gov or visit the Finance department page at www.rockymountnc.gov.

For more information regarding the city’s utility services and programs, customers may visit www.rockymountnc.gov/utilities or call Customer Service at (252) 972-1250.

Customers are also encouraged to watch the City Beat interview with Director of Energy Resources Rich Worsinger, which is available on the city’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/CITYTV19. During the interview, Worsinger answers questions about why recent utility bills may be higher than normal, tips for reducing energy consumption, how the city’s rates compare and resolution of the debt.

Tameka Kenan-Norman

Chief Communications & Marketing Officer

City of Rocky Mount

Communications & Marketing Office

Ph:   252.972-1333
Fax: 252.972.1173