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Managing Your Utility Bill

from the Bermuda Tightwad Gazette




Readers of the Royal Gazette


by Martha Harris Myron






$ Reader Feedback and Tightwad Submissions

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Electric Usage Cost Management.  Note! Various sections are new and still under construction. Check back soon!

Everyone Wants to Save on Households Energy Costs. Are you wasting precious kilowatts for convenience? Depends upon your VALUES, doesn't it? In the End, though you need cold hard cash to pay that inflated bill!


Lacktricity & Utilities:


The Royal Gazette is featuring several articles on Energy Consumption, Energy Conservation and Managing your Electricity Costs on July 04, July 11 and July 18, 2015


Controlling your Bermuda electricity costs - Part I

Part II - posted next week


See the Belco Energy Bill Calculator example.


Belco generic bill calculator



Electric Consumption Chart. Let's take a review of an anonymous real household Belco statement for June 23 2015 sorted out in this chart on an Excel spreadsheet. You can also do these computations by hand. You can independently track your energy charges each month while learning to control them.

1407 kilowatts (kWh) were consumed by this household in this 28 day-billed month – stated at the very top of the bill.

What is your first thought? Wow! More than half of this usage will be charged at the highest rate 29.72 cents per kWh. Further, under the new tiered Graduated Facilities Charge, the average daily kilowatt usage computed facilities fee for the month is placed in Tier 5, the highest position - an increase of $17 over the prior fee of $33. The facilities charge is computed by dividing 1407 kWh / by 28 days in the billing month = $50.25, then assessing the annual rolling daily average.

What should be your second thought? Set a goal to keep your kilowatt usage below that highest Third block usage (over 700 kWh).

First rule.

Check your wattage count. Start on your own by recording your wattage a couple of times a week, so that you will be close or on the date when your next reading is taken. Your number may be a bit off from Belco, but you will be in the “ballpark” if you track your own meter readings regularly and compare them to your bill. In our case, the 1407 kWh is computed by subtracting the difference between the meter reading for the bill date ( 15623 ) and the meter reading for the prior month (14216) = 1407.

Belco informed me that 75% of all meter readings are now electronic; about 25% are still manual, some meter readings are estimated if access is unavailable.

Second rule. The more energy you use, the more it will cost: the first 250 watts costs 15.75 cents each; the second block of 500 watts cost 24 cents each; the third unlimited block costs 29.72 cents each unit, double the cost of the first block. This is the most complicated calculation. You must take the 1407 kWh used and divide it into the blocks and prices used. In our case,
• first block – 250kWh times 15.75 cents = $39.38;
• second block – 450kWh times 24 cents = $108.00;
• third block – the remainder kWh (1407-700) 707kWh times 29.72 cents = $210.12


The first block is the cheapest with the second block almost 1.5 times more, and the third block – double the cost. A sobering thought to keep in mind every time you leave all lights, plug-ins, air-conditioning and other appliances on.

Third rule. The Belco facilities charge also increases in tiers for consumers, starting with $15.00 for the cost cutter group, and increasing steadily upward to $75 per month for the high-end consumers.

The Fourth rule is that the Fuel adjustment fee is assessed equally across the consumer spectrum. The fee fluctuates by month depending upon oil capital market pricing. 1407kWh times 11.50 = $161.81

The anonymous household bill tops out at $568.81.

Don't forget the 5% discount savings of $28.44 – easy to do by setting up a direct debit payment plan.

Therefore, what is your ultimate goal?

Reduce your carbon footprint. Will it be work? Oh yes, it will. Here is something to think about. Every time you see a reduction in your utility bill – put that amount into your version of the cookie jar. Now there is a growing Rainy day fund. What a sense of accomplishment to see that grow!

Why don't you try the blank (Your numbers need to filled in for your household) Energy calculator for your own bill, and use it going forward to project your savings. Warning - this is a first for Moneywise (and me, your columnist). You can figure your amounts by hand, with a calculator, or an excel spreadsheet.  Please request your version: hand calculate or the excel version if you are handy with spreadsheets. If the calculator does not work properly for you - either way, SEND me an email at and I will respond.


$ Reader Feedback and Tightwad Submissions Readers responded with energy-efficient tips. Bless you for taking the time to write to me! The savings tips submitted demonstrate that these readers have figured out what works for them and their lifestyle.

Here are some tips from great readers!





Belco Energy Experts and Corporate Relations / Customer Care personnel have provided great detailed information to help you manage your energy usage costs. The amount of information is significant and will be uploaded in a few days.






Readers of the Royal Gazette, Belco, and this website.


References with respect from The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn. The complete compendium of tightwad tips for fabulous frugal living! In a newsletter published from May 1990 to December 1996 as well as in three enormously successful books, Amy Dacyczyn established herself as the expert of economy. Now The Complete Tightwad Gazette brings together all of her best ideas and thriftiest thinking into one volume, along with new articles never published before in book format. The Book can be purchased here.



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