Anyone driving by my home on West Street Friday afternoon may have heard a loud GROAN.  This involuntary sound came forth upon viewing our monthly Town of Berlin Maryland utility bill.  Nearly double!

The consumption of kWh was double – though understanding that the demand for energy in December is traditionally higher due to the use of decorative holiday lighting combined with the inordinately early cold, cold weather calling for more HEAT.  Add to that an extra 5 days of usage because of the late reading of meters (due to inclement weather) and my bill was high – as I expect were those of most of my neighbors.

Nothing to be done to remedy this for now but realign the monthly household budget and pay it before the ‘late’ charge kicks in, adding even more ill afforded dollars!

The good news is that the Town is moving forward in the process of getting a new power purchase contract.  Last Monday evening at the regular meeting of the Berlin Mayor and Council, an outline/map for the process was unanimously approved.  For many months now Town Staff and the Berlin Utility Commission have been busy investigating, working to find the most favorable method with which to go forward.  The end of our current contract is 31 May.  We need something in place – and we hope to have something more reasonable!  It was decided to join the PJM (Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland) group to add heft (support) to any future contract negotiations.  And, once a favorable rate contract is obtained, to go before the Maryland Public Service Commission to request a decrease in residential and commercial rates in early 2012.

Having been a part of this process through my membership in the Utility Commission, all I can say is – it’s complicated!

In the meantime, at the household level, I’m still faced with that darned bill – the never-ending struggle between my own power use and budget.   Last week it was announced via radio and local newspaper the creation of a new website called ‘EnergizeEfficiently’, sponsored by Old Dominion along with other electric cooperatives, to help all of us deal with this growing problem of added demand and increased rates.  Lots of energy saving tips and even a money saving coupon to purchase CFL’s (compact fluorescent lighting)!  And, while we can’t do much about the weather we can all buckle down and work to decrease our use to help avoid that future ‘Home Groan’!

To view this website, click HERE!

Come on SPRING!

If you’d care to leave a comment, just ‘click’ on the post title.