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Managing Utility Bills During COVID-19

May 26, 2020

Male couple looking through financial documents together in their home. One of them is using his smartphone as a calculator which they are both looking at dissapointedly.

In mid-March EWEB voluntarily issued a moratorium on service disconnections, allowing customers who are financially impacted by the pandemic to temporarily defer payments without worrying about losing electric services.

As the utility and our entire community begin a gradual and responsible recovery process, we are closely monitoring the disconnection moratorium and impacts to customers.

For those who can, thank you for paying your bill on time.

If you have missed utility bill payments and are carrying a past-due balance, you may be concerned about accruing a large bill that may be even harder to pay-off later. Here are some tips for managing your account, avoiding future penalties, and protecting yourself from criminals who might leverage the COVID-19 pandemic to scam utility customers during this crisis.

Make Partial Payments

Even if you can't pay your bill in full at this time, it is smart to make at least partial payments as you are able. This will help keep your accrued balance down and reduce your risk of future disconnection once the moratorium is over.

Review your Bill Carefully

A key element to managing your electricity usage is to be able to track it over time. By reviewing your billing statement, you see whether you are using more or less energy compared to the year before. Your bill also shows the amount due and any past due balance. Even if you are enrolled in Budget Billing,  it's crucial to review your bill to avoid surprise balances during the annual "true-up."

Apply for Assistance

If you are struggling to pay your bill, you may qualify for assistance. EWEB offers a $260 bill credit annually to income-eligible customers. In response to the economic disruptions caused by the coronavirus crisis, EWEB has temporarily extended the $260 bill assistance credit to customers who have lost their job due to coronavirus.

Reduce your Bill by Reducing your Usage

We recognize that the COVID-19 outbreak means that a lot of our customers are spending more time at home now, which could lead to higher utility bills. Managing your usage during this time can help lower your bills:

    • Use less hot water. Heating water is the second-largest use of energy in the average home. Lower the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees, take short showers, and use cold water setting for laundry when possible.

    • Turn off unnecessary lights and electronics. Leaving devices in standby mode can account for as much as 10 percent of home energy use. Plug multiple devices into a power strip with a surge protector. This makes it easy to turn off all devices with the flip of one switch, while also protecting them from damage. 

    • With springtime's fluctuating temperatures, turn off the heating system and use windows and curtains to strategically warm or cool the house at different times throughout the day.

  • Run full loads only in the dishwasher, washing machine and dryer.

Beware of Scams

Scammers know full well that people are struggling and to them, it's the perfect time to strike. Be suspicious of any emails and/or phone calls that claim to be urgent and require immediate action to prevent shut-off of any of your utility services. Read more about common scams and how to protect yourself.