Friday 3 July, 2020

Why your CUC Bill has gone up & how to bring it down

There has been widespread shock expressed at many instances of significant increases including some cases of doubling and tripling of CUC electricity bills, despite the significant drop in global oil prices.

“There was a bit of a firestorm when people got their electricity bill and saw that it was significantly higher than it had been in previous months,” confirmed the premier at this Friday’s coronavirus press briefing.

The premier explained that the reason for the bill increase has been for one or both of the following reasons:

  1. Given the fact that most people have been home since mid-March, there has been increased energy usage “because there are likely to be more people at home for longer periods” with many working from home and homeschooling.
  2. The weather is getting warmer.

Further, the reason that the fuel charge has not decreased with the global reduction in the price of oil, is due to the fact that CUC purchases fuel two months in advance, which means that CUC bills are based on fuel prices of 2-months ago and not on the current price.  According to the premier, CUC charges customers precisely what it pays for fuel without any mark up.

June and July prices should thus be significantly lower, and reflective of the cost of fuel for the period of April-May 2020.

Given that the costs per kw/h do not appear to have changed, there are some ways that CUC bills can be managed and reduced in the coming summer months.

1. Monitor your power usage day-by-day. Sign up to MyCUC today and be in control of your energy usage by using the CustomerConnect energy management tool.

This is located at: https://cucconnect.cuc.ky/HomeConnect/login.html

2. Check the performance of your air conditioner (including the AC system and air filters) as it can consume about 60 per cent of your electricity bill. According to Caribbean Filtration, if air filters have not been changed over the last few months they can be suffocating your AC and restricting the airflow, not to mention all the dust, allergens and air born bacteria that gets trapped in the air filter. “I believe it is the most cost-effective solution since air filters only cost an average of $5 each and last up to 2-3 months,” says Diana Dilbert of Caribbean Filtration.

“We are spending more time at home and our air filters get clogged, which restricts the airflow and makes your AC system work twice as hard.” Contact Caribbean Filtration at: https://www.caribbeanfiltration.com/

3. Replace your light bulbs. According to CUC, you can reduce your electricity usage for lighting by 75% just by replacing your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. Although energy-efficient bulbs are more expensive off the shelf, their efficient energy use and longer service lives mean that they cost less in the long run.

4. Turn off electrical appliances (including wifi, printers and computers) when not using them. This is the most intuitive of all approaches. Turn off your air conditioner and appliances when you go to bed or leave the house. Turning things off at the power point can save even more power than at the switch or remote control. If you are able, invest in advanced power strips, which shut off the power to electronics when they are not in use.

5. Close doors and curtains. Shut doors to areas you're not using, and only cool the rooms where you spend the most time. When you keep curtains and blinds closed, sunlight will not enter and your house will remain cooler. Also, stop cool air leaking out by blocking draughts around doors and windows.

6. Use energy-intensive appliances less by performing household tasks manually, such as hang-drying your clothes instead of putting them in the dryer, or washing dishes by hand.

7. Use energy-efficient appliances. When purchasing an energy-efficient appliance, you should look for appliances with the ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR certified clothes washers consume 25% less energy and 45% less water than conventional ones, whereas ENERGY STAR refrigerators use 9% less energy.

8. Manage water-heating expenses. Water heating is a major contributor to total energy consumption. This can be achieved by simply using less hot water or by turning down the thermostat on your water heater.

9. According to CUC, you can reduce your cooling bill by 2% just by raising your thermostat by one degree in the summer.

10. Go off the grid with affordable solar. This is the most extreme but most impactful measure. Banks are typically happy and willing to finance these projects.

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