Better communication is part of “Bright Future” initiative to improve service
In keeping with its commitment to open and transparent communications, Clarksdale Public Utilities is providing customers with more specifics about monthly bills, including the fuel adjustment charge associated with their electric service.
“Communicating more with customers is an important step in building confidence in CPU as a trusted utility provider,” said Curtis D. Boschert, CPU general manager. “Part of our pledge to better communication includes making sure our customers fully understand their monthly bills and all charges associated with their CPU services.”
CPU’s monthly bills provide a detailed breakout of costs associated with electricity, water and sewer services. They also include fees for refuse collection and mosquito control, which CPU collects on behalf of the City of Clarksdale.
For electric service, bills now include a “Fuel Adjustment” line directly beneath the “Electric – Residential” section, an area that Boschert says is generating some inquiries about the purpose of the charge, why it changes every month and how fuel adjustments affect the cost of electricity.
“Fuel adjustments, which are widely used throughout the utility industry, allow power providers to regularly adjust electricity prices to reflect changing fuel costs,” said Boschert. “Under CPU’s rate regulation, fuel costs are passed through from fuel suppliers to customers, with no markup or profit to CPU.”
Each year utilities estimate the total cost of fuel to generate electricity in the next year. Fuel sources include natural gas, coal, hydroelectric, nuclear, solar, wind and purchased power, among others.
CPU’s base electric rate incorporates a fixed amount per kilowatt-hour to recover fuel costs. Since fuel prices vary, CPU adjusts the per-kWh fuel charge — either up or down — to reflect the actual price paid for fuel used to generate electricity for each billing cycle.
For example, in January 2019 the fuel adjustment for CPU customers was 0.024200. In June, the figure had fallen to 0.004000 to reflect lower fuel prices during the billing cycle. The most recent fuel adjustment also was lower than June 2018, when it was 0.016300.
Pointing to CPU’s recently introduced Bright Future initiative, Boschert said the utility is on track to improve customer satisfaction and drive community growth.
“Rates that CPU customers pay for electric power are among the lowest in Mississippi,” he said. “We work hard to keep rates low by operating in an innovative, efficient and cost-conscious manner, and we are continuously seeking opportunities to improve service and build positive relationships with customers and the community we serve.”
While customers may not be able to control fuel prices, there are strategies they can use to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, reduce electric use and lower bills. On CPU’s website, customers can find energy-saving tips to stay cool and control costs during summer months. The U.S. Department of Energy’s website is also a helpful resource for energy-saving tips (https://www.energy.gov/energysaver).
In addition, CPU offers several billing and payment options to give customers more control over their utility accounts, billing cycles and household budgets, such as Pick A Due Date, Level Billing and automatic draft. Sign-up is free, and there are no added fees for these services.
Customers also are encouraged to sign up for PowerLine, CPU’s upgraded online portal that provides more account features to help customers better manage their utility services and costs.
Clarksdale Public Utilities is a municipally owned utility serving approximately 6,800 homes and businesses in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Its mission is to safely provide sustainable electric, water and wastewater services in a reliable and courteous manner by well-trained team members, committed to top quality, efficient operations, competitive rates and the vitality of the community.
Learn more at http://cdpu.net.