There have recently been some inquiries as to why the electric bills issued for January 2024 are higher relative to those issued in December. First and foremost, the Town has not changed/raised their electric rates since May 2023. Rates cannot be changed without the approval of the Maryland Public Service Commission. Any proposed changes must go through a strict procedural track, which includes notification to customers and public hearings.
Additionally, the Town has worked diligently and have been able to successfully keep the wholesale costs of power to residents extremely low relative to every other Investor Owned Utility in the State. For example, residents of Thurmont are currently paying only 5.484 cents per kilowatt hour for power supply while the “Price to Compare” for those being served by Potomac Edison is 9.22 cents per kilowatt hour for their energy needs. This means the wholesale cost of power for those in Potomac Edison’s service territory is nearly 70% more expensive than it is for those being provided electricity by the Town of Thurmont.
Therefore, since the Town’s electric rates have not changed, that means the increase in the most recent electric bills can only be explained by an increase in the usage of electricity. The two main factors for the increase in electric consumption during this last billing period are most likely the following two items. First is the number of days included in the billing cycle. In accordance with our Electric Service Tariff, “Bills for regular Service shall be rendered monthly following the delivery of Service based on meter readings scheduled at approximately monthly intervals of from twenty-five (25) days to thirty-five (35) days.” Meters were read earlier than usual in December 2023 due to the holidays; as a result, the electric bills issued for December (which are based on the meter readings in December) were only for 29 days of service. Accordingly, since the meters were then read on their normal schedule in January, that means the most recent bills issued included 34 days of electric service. This caused an immediate rise in consumption of electricity due to the increased number of days in the billing cycle.
The second most likely reason for the increase in electric consumption is the unusual cold spell that our area experienced during the last billing cycle. There were quite a few days where temperatures and wind chills were in the single digits, which is not typical for our area. Many heating systems, especially heat pump systems, do not operate efficiently in these temperatures. This is why electric bills for those with electric heat sources are typically the highest following the coldest month of the year.
Please feel free to call the Town Office at (301)-271-7313 with any questions.