New billing options for Grand Marais PUC customers

Grand Marais Public Utilities (PUC) customers have undoubtedly noticed a new format to their monthly bills.  The new format was recommended by the city’s energy cooperative, Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA) with the hope that a new feature comparing energy use with other customers will inspire people to reduce their use of energy.

The new format shows residential customers how their own energy use compares with that of people with homes of similar size, age, and heat sources.  Grand Marais has been divided up into numerous groupings.

According to the SMMPA website, “The Household Energy Comparison is aimed at giving you a better understanding of your electric consumption and provides additional ways to use energy wisely. Similar programs across Minnesota have found that customers save an average of 1.5 percent on their monthly electric bills.

The new bills also include tips on how to increase energy efficiency and reduce energy use.  “Its intent is to see if people are using energy efficiently,” said City Administrator Mike Roth.  The purpose is to suggest that “there are people who are doing this for cheaper – maybe you could!” he said.

Ten percent of customers are in a control group and will continue to receive the old style bill for a year or two.  This will allow SMMPA and the Grand Marais PUC to evaluate the effectiveness of the information on the new bills.

Customers can log into their own account on the SMMPA website to learn more about their own energy use patterns.  The secure, user-friendly web portal allows you to securely access your account to track the energy usage in your home and see how much you are spending and how you could save,” the website says.  “Here you can view your home’s energy usage over time, conduct an online analysis, view energy-saving tips and challenge family and friends to save energy and money.”

This webpage can found by going to http://www.saveenergyinmycommunity.com/members/grand-marais-public-utilities/household-performance.aspx or by going to the SMMPA website at http://www.saveenergyinmycommunity.com/ and clicking on “Members,” “Grand Marais Public Utilities,” and “Household Performance Tools:  Click Here.”