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Consumer Tip (Sunday, December 04, 2005)

Budget Billing May Be Right For You

Creating and sticking to a household budget can be made a little less complicated if your electric utility offers budget billing, sometimes known as a levelized billing plan or average billing plan.  Budget billing doesn't reduce the amount you pay over the course of a year, but it does make your bill about the same each month so you can more easily manage your budget.

Take a look at this chart for a typical South Florida household that spent $1,800 on electricity in 2003.   The monthly bills ranged from $130.68 in April to $174.78 in July.  Imagine receiving the highest electric bill of the year right as you are going out to buy back-to-school supplies?

If this customer had taken advantage of budget billing, his monthly bill would have been between $147.94 and $151.61 each month.  He would still pay the same $1800 over the course of the year, but would have avoided the checkbook shock during the Summer months.

All five of the investor-owned electric utilities regulated by the Florida Public Service Commission offer a budget billing plan.  The programs vary slightly from utility to utility.  Check with your electric service provider to see if budget billing might make your budgeting easier.

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