Water, Gas, and Lights new budget leads to more rate increases

The Water, Gas and Light commission passed the budget for next year which translates to a minor increase in your bill. / Colby Gallagher

The Water, Gas and Light commission passed the budget for next year which translates to a minor increase in your bill.

"There is a small water increase of 5% which is about a $2 difference on the average bill," said John Vansant III, the Finance Director at Water, Gas and Light.

$2 may not seem like much, but it can add up if you think of all the ways we may waste those George Washingtons. Luckily, Water, Gas and Light has a service to prevent that from happening.

"Anybody that would like to have a free energy audit where we come to your home or apartment, we go through the whole home or apartment, and we let you know things that are abusing power, ways to save," said Assistant General Manager of Customer Relations, Lorie Farkas.

There was also a 2.5-3% increase in the gas bill, but customers will actually see a lower number than usual.

"Because gas prices are so low, what customers actually pay for gas is going to be one of the lowest rates that it has been in 15 years," said Vansant.

While the rates have gone up, there are still small changes you can make around your house to make sure your bill goes down.

"There are so many ways to save money but with a good weatherized envelope around your home or apartment coupled with good conservation, you can save 20-40% on your utility bill," said Farkas.

So what are some good ways to conserve?

"Cut back a little on watering, that kind of thing," said Vansant.

"In the summer, the thermostat needs to be set at 78 degrees. Every degree under that that you put your thermostat, you raise your bill 3%," said Farkas.

Despite popular belief, keeping your fan on the low setting â" not the high â" is more effective paired with the 78 degree setting.

"What makes us so uncomfortable is the humidity in the air so what the fan on low does is suck the water out of the air and so even though it's at 78, you do feel more comfortable," said Farkas.

Farkas also recommends running a feather around your windows for signs of air movement so you know when it's time to re-caulk and turning off your water heater when you leave for more than a day or two - the appliance makes up for 18% of your utility bill whether you use it or not.

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