Monthly utility bills can really add up throughout the year. According to the National Association of Homebuilders, the national average for utility bills is $110 a month. This is just under 10 percent of the total housing cost for Americans on average. This is a recurring cost you have to pay each month, so most customers of Tampa Electric are doing whatever they can to get their monthly bill as low as possible.
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To help save you time on this, I did some research on my own and have come up with some ways that any customer of TECO can create some room in their monthly budget. Here are some resources your local Tampa Bay electric company offers its customers.
Get a Free Energy Audit!
You may be paying more for your energy bills than you have to. Luckily, Tampa Electric has a team of experts on hand that can analyze any home to determine ways that it can be more efficient. This service could cost a couple hundred dollars if you hire someone to do it, but it is offered for free by the Tampa Electric Company.
The analysis of your home is comprehensive and includes the heating and cooling system and even your ventilation. They will leave no stone unturned in their quest to make your home more efficient. This service is particularly effective if you live in an older home that may have some ventilation problems. If you don’t have time to have someone come to your home, you can do a less thorough version of the audit over the phone.
Save Money with the Energy Planner Program!
One of the first things I came across when visiting the company website was the energy planner program. This program is available at no additional cost for customers of Tampa Electric that have internet service. Upon enrolling, you will be charged a different rate for electricity throughout the day depending on what the Energy Planner rate is for that time of day. There are four different categories (Low, Medium, High, and Critical). The two most common rates are low and medium and these are also the rates that bring you the most savings. When enrolled in this program, you will pay a lower rate for almost 90% of the day.
Check out these helpful payment options!
Everyone knows that your energy usage can vary greatly from month to month. You are clearly going to use your air conditioner more often during the hottest parts of the summer than you do during the fall, meaning your energy bill experiences some spikes and some lulls throughout the year.
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This can be hard to budget for. TECO understands this, so they offer each of their customers the opportunity to enroll in the Budget Billing program. When you are enrolled in Budget Billing, your annual charges are added up and averaged out for the year. You are then charged right around that number each month, making it much easier to plan for your bill on a monthly basis and avoid any unwanted surprises in your monthly budget. Budget Billing has helped a lot of customers take charge of their monthly bills and get back on track with their payments.
Tampa Electric also has a payment program for those who are on a fixed income called Due Date Plus. This program helps these customers avoid missing payments, getting late charges, or sent to collections. Tampa Electric knows that you don’t always get your check on a date that makes it easy for you to make your utility payments, so they give a cushion of a few days to make your payment, helping you keep your account in good standing at all times.
Even if you aren’t on a fixed income, you may find yourself in a position where it is hard to make your payments on time. Tampa Electric Company may be willing to set up payment arrangements. These arrangements are usually up to 30 days and are also designed to help you keep your account in good standing when things outside of your control prevent you from making your utility bills on time.
Get help with your Tampa Electric bill payments!
Tampa Share is a program offered to low-income residents in the area who need help paying their energy bill. This program is funded entirely through other members of Tampa Electric through either one-time or recurring donations. This program is a collaboration between Tampa Electric and the local Salvation Army.
Outside of TECO, there are some great organizations providing payment assistance for utility bills. One of the most popular is LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program). This program is designed to help low-income households with their energy bills. Visit this web page to see if you qualify for assistance. There are different eligibility requirements depending on the number of people living in the home.
If you’re a low income household with at least one senior (age 60+), you may qualify for EHEAP when you’re experiencing an energy crisis. Your household could receive up to $600 per heating and cooling season to help with your energy costs! Call (800) 96-ELDER for more information.
If you make less than 200% of the federal poverty level, you may be available for the weatherization program. Many low-income families do not have the means to update their home’s insulation. This program provides that at no charge. It especially geared towards homes with elderly residents that may be older and need attention. This service serves to greatly reduce the amount of energy the household is using. Some people even see reductions of as much as 10% annually on their energy bills as a result. Check out this site for more information on the program in Florida.
Medical Watch can help you avoid interruptions of service.
A number of elderly customers of Tampa Bay Electric rely on medical equipment to survive. If you are prescribed such a device from your doctor, you will be notified by the electric company if you services are scheduled to be interrupted whether for nonpayment of bill or maintenance on the power lines. This program can save lives in some instances as some people are reliant on this electricity as a means of life support.
Get rebates on upgrades!
One of the side benefits of a free energy audit through Tampa Electric is that your technician will offer you some rebates and other offers there. Applying these can lead to some big savings. On top of the rebates offered, there are some other incentive programs offered. These deals are always changing, so be sure to contact them to schedule an energy audit and get the opportunity to take advantage of them at your next convenience.