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Budget Billing Your Electrical & Gas Utilities


As a REALTOR® and home owner, I always tell my clients to watch over their home utility bills for accuracy.  My home is serviced by Mid-American Energy for both my natural gas & electric needs.  I have to say I can’t remember the last time that my natural gas service went out.  Electricity on the other hand does have its problems on occasion.. but living in Iowa where a majority of the electrical service lines are located above ground on poles, I can’t complain about occasional outages during storm season.

This year we seemed to have gotten lucky.  After a long and hard winter, I’m not complaining either.  This spring was very mild.  It could have lasted a bit longer but you know what they say about Iowa weather… if you don’t like it, wait five minutes and it will change.

This past January I took advantage of an energy tax incentive to have my attic insulated.  The benefits were immediately felt.  The upstairs of my 1979 built two story home stayed warmer all winter and now that summer is knocking on my door, I can tell a difference in air conditioning performance.  I actually sleep with a blanket ON top of me now…

So today I’m paying bills and as I begin to enter the monthly utility bill into Quicken I notice that it’s the same old budget amount I’ve been paying now for over a year and a half.  I thought that surely I’d see a drop in my budget billing now that I’m well insulated.  So I logged on to Mid-American Energy’s website and was able to look at my last 3 year history graphs and can see a marked change in my gas & electric usage.  However as I examined my online bill, this is what I saw:

So far I’ve paid almost $125 dollars to the utility company.  I know…. summer is coming and they are trying to protect me from going to the other direction, but I still feel like I should be getting an adjustment in my budget billing amount.  Afterall, they DO know that I added the insulation.  They were who I called to have an energy audit completed in the first place.  They do say that my annual review is up in August which is the month that I purchased my home almost 10 years ago.

So while I was online, I thought perhaps there was a place I could go to initiate an early audit of my account.  This is what I found.  What do you notice missing?

Isn’t is wonderful?!?!  I can request an INCREASE in my budget billing amount, but not a decrease!  I will watch my account closely over the next couple of months, but by August, if my budget billing hasn’t dropped, I’m going to have to consider turning into a miser!  I’ll be shuffling around the house at night with the lights all turned off, fanning myself with an Iowa State Fair manual cardboard fan.

Bring on Summer.. but bring it on mildly please!

About Les Sulgrove

Les is an Iowa native born in Des Moines and raised in the southwest Iowa town of Bridgewater. He has been a resident of Des Moines since 1982 and has been married to his wife Linda for over 35 years. Together they have 3 grown children, 7 grandchildren and make their home on Des Moines south side. He has been a licensed REALTOR® since 1990 and is Vice President at VIA Group, REALTORS®. Les is the 2011 Past President of the Des Moines Area Association of REALTORS® (DMAAR) and received the award of Salesperson of the Year by DMAAR in 2007 for his involvement and service to the Association. Additionally, he is active at the Iowa Association of REALTORS® and serves on local, state and national committees. He also owns and operates the national technology networking group CyberProfessionals. This group of real estate professionals meets twice annually across the United States to learn from each other and share new marketing ideas with heavy emphasis on current and future technologies and their use in the real estate business. Les’ hobbies include golf, photography and sarcastic humor. He and Linda spend many Saturday mornings from Spring to Fall at the Des Moines Downtown Farmers Market. He enjoys spoiling his grandchildren at every opportunity.

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