Join a Budget Billing Plan for Natural Gas and Electric Service

In addition to using conservation measures, consumers can take advantage of budget billing or average monthly payment options to offset the cost of increased energy usage for cooling during the summer and heating during the winter.

Budget billing is a program offered by West Virginia’s electric and natural gas utility companies that spreads out the cost of energy used during high-demand times of the year. Instead of seeing an increase in winter heating bills or summer cooling bills, budget billing averages total yearly usage into manageable monthly bills.

How Does Budget Billing Work?

Upon your request, your utility company will review your usage history. Based on that information and expected energy prices, the company will determine your monthly budget amount. You will pay that amount throughout the budget billing period, which usually runs for 12 months.

At the end of the budget period the company will review your actual usage. Depending on your utility company, one of two things will happen:

  1. You will receive a bill for an amount that may be higher or lower than your budget amount. This is called a “true-up” or settlement. The true-up makes sure that what you paid on the budget plan matches what you actually used during the budget period. You may either receive a credit if you paid too much during the budget period, or have to pay the difference if you did not pay enough. The company will then adjust your budget payment for the next period based on the previous period’s actual usage and the company’s most recently approved rate
  2. If you have paid more than what your usage was, your bill over the next 12 months will be reduced. If you have paid less than the cost of your usage, your monthly bill will increase over the next 12 months by an amount to make up the shortage.

More information is available at: http://www.dhhr.wv.gov/bcf/Services/familyassistance/Pages/Utility-Assistance.aspx.

Lifeline

Lifeline is a program that offers eligible low-income consumers a discount on their monthly local telephone bill for basic telephone services.

More information is available at: http://www.psc.state.wv.us/LifeLine/default.htm.

West Virginia 2-1-1

West Virginia 2-1-1 keeps an accurate and comprehensive database where you can find hundreds of services, including 24-hour counseling, suicide prevention, community information and many forms of assistance to meet your needs. It will allow you to browse and research by types of assistance, geographic area and other criteria.

For more information dial “211” or log on to: http://www.wv211.org/.