New look for Grand Marais PUC bills

Your May PUC bill is going to be due on the 26th, but it’s 
going to look different, so don’t throw it away!  Grand Marais Public 
Utilities Commission (PUC) Utility Administrative Specialist Jan Smith
said, “My biggest fear is that some people are going to throw their 
first bill away because it’s coming in an envelope.”
The new format will give customers more information in a clearer 
format and explain things that they would otherwise be asking the PUC 
to help them understand, such as the fact that each customer is 
charged a basic rate for water, sewer, and electric service, with 
usage charges added on top of that.  It will indicate most recent and 
upcoming meter reading dates and indicate in red ink how much extra 
the bill would be if it were paid after the 26th of the month.
The new bill will have a bar graph showing individual electric usage 
over the last 12 months.  This will be helpful, for example, in seeing 
how much usage has been fluctuating from season to season.
The new bill will also have room for messages, such as notifications 
regarding energy efficient appliance rebates or CFL light bulb 
giveaways.  Smith said they also plan to let customers know when 
community events such as the Grand Marais Arts Festival or the Dragon 
Boat Festival are coming up.
The new bill will arrive in an envelope on 8½x11-inch paper.  The cost 
“will be a little higher,” according to Smith, because they will 
need to stuff the envelopes and envelopes cost more to mail than 
postcards.  She hopes they will start bar coding the envelopes, which 
will eliminate the time they have been spending sorting the bills into 
various zip codes.  About 750 bills are sent to Grand Marais addresses 
each month, but another 200 to 250 are sent other places.