BLANCHESTER — While some Blanchester citizens were outraged at their electricity bills, the Board of Public Affairs assures them there are a lot of factors that go into those bills.
In February, some residents noticed a drastic increase in their electric bills and were upset at it, taking to social media to voice frustration and concern.
However, according to the BPA, very few residents have contacted them to discuss their bills.
Sandra Parsons believed that there was price gouging involved with Dayton Power & Electric (DP&L).
“I realize it was cold, but my house is a little over 1,100 sq ft. This is ridiculous and we really don’t have a choice since DP&L supplies the electricity. I think it’s price gouging,” said Parsons.
Another resident, Carolyn Schumacher, shared with the News Journal that her bill in December was $394.11, $495.92 in January, and $810 in February.
Facebook user Joshua-Jessica Fox shared her bill for this month on the Facebook group Clinton County Exposed. It stated the previous month’s bill was $338.47, this month’s stated the amount is $904.35, and the amount required $987.40.
BPA Manager Jim Myers addressed the high electric bills during the Feb. 22 village council meeting. He reiterated that this past winter was a particularly harsh one.
“We’ve had worse winters, but not recently,” he said. “I looked through some history of some people who have electric heat and their consumption this year is more than the last two years, but not as much as what they used three or four years ago. So, it goes in fluctuations depending on the severity of the winter.”
He added that if it’s the only type of heat source a resident has, that it’s possible to have much higher consumption with a heat pump instead of a conventional forced air heat system.
“I’m not an HPSE expert by any means, but people who tell me that heat pumps, even though they’ve become more efficient in recent years, are not as efficient in severely cold weather,” he said.
According to him, the electricity is measured through kilowatt hours on the electric meter of hours of consumption. The current residential service fees are $40 per water meter for water deposit, $40 per water meter for sewer deposit, and for electric deposit $100 per electric meter without electric heat
Many citizens were shocked to see the rather drastic increase since they use wood-burning stoves as their main source of heat. But Myers said that their bills still includes all electrical uses. He added it’s not uncommon for those who use alternative heat sources to have cold spots in the house and use heat sources for that.
According to Kimberly Leath, an assistant utility clerk at the BPA, they’ve talked with about eight to 10 customers about their respective bills. Most of these were about whether or not the bill was correct, and the calls occurred while they were paying them.
“Our staff does a very good job at addressing concerns people when they come in,” Myers said. “Our directive utilities and myself have been making ourselves available to talk to the public.”
Myers reiterated that if anyone has concerns or questions to contact the BPA at 937-783-2141 or to stop by at their office at 318 E. Main St., Suite 102, Blanchester.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574.