NBU warns of higher bills, offers tips to reduce usage and assistance options

More time spent at home could lead to higher utility bills during stay-at-home orders. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
More time spent at home could lead to higher utility bills during stay-at-home orders. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

More time spent at home could lead to higher utility bills during stay-at-home orders. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

New Braunfels Utilities warned that customers could see higher utility bills than what would be typical. NBU officials said this would be caused by residents having increased electricity and water consumption while they stay home because of the coronavirus.

NBU's Environmental Affairs Manager, Andrew Cummings, likened it to a summertime scenario when kids are home, although he said the situation is exacerbated because it is not just kids staying home.

Executive Director of Media Relations Melissa Krause said that disconnects had been suspended and assistance is available for customers with hardships.

Payment plans are being offered but customers must contact customer service to make arrangements. Usage fees will continue to accrue.

The New Braunfels Food Bank offers additional assistance through a contract it has with NBU.


Despite the higher utility demand, Krause said NBU will continue to be able to meet the community's needs.

Cummings said that activities such as cooking breakfast and lunch at home—instead of going out to eat—can lead to increased water usage, and additional cleaning and sanitizing also makes for additional water usage.

Air conditioning usage is expected to be higher as residents stay home during the hottest times of the day.

Working from home can also lead to lights, fans and other electronic appliances being used to an increased extent.

NBU offered a number of suggestions that can help manage utility consumption.

Water

  • Plan meals and defrost frozen food in the refrigerator overnight instead of running water over it.

  • Sweep the floor regularly instead of mopping it. Spot clean the counters, stoves and floors to reduce water usage.

  • The increased use of dish and clothes washers at home can impact your bill. Remember to always fill these machines to capacity before operating them.

  • As we enter spring, be aware that turning lawn sprinklers back on can increase your water bill by double or even triple. Make sure that your system is in good repair and in compliance before activating it.

  • Remember that your toilets will be flushed more. Make sure your toilet is leak-free.


Energy


  • Remember to keep your thermostat set at 78 degrees when cooling and 68 degrees when heating your home for optimal comfort and energy usage.

  • Try opening windows to let natural light in to save on energy usage.

  • A microwave uses one-third of the energy that a stovetop or oven does.

  • Constantly opening your refrigerator door will cause it to work overtime to keep your groceries fresh and increase your overall energy usage.

  • An open door while the air conditioner is running can waste energy.

By Warren Brown
Warren joined Community Impact at the beginning of 2020 as the editor of its New Braunfels paper and now reports the news in San Marcos, Buda and Kyle. Warren previously wrote for the Dallas Observer and Fort Worth Weekly and he brings a passion for truth and equality to his reporting.


MOST RECENT

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations. (Courtesy Amazon)
Amazon begins rollout of statewide vaccination clinics for employees

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations.

Hannah Sullivan, a Galen College of Nursing student, prepares a Moderna vaccine during a January vaccine clinic in Comal County. (Lauren Canterberry/Community Impact Newspaper)
Comal County continues vaccine partnerships with local nursing programs

Local nursing students have played an integral role in Comal County’s coronavirus vaccination efforts by administering doses during weekly clinics.

Austin FC supporters celebrate the official announcement of the team in January 2019. (Amy Denney/Community Impact Newspaper)
How, where to watch historic first Austin FC match April 17

Check out this list of breweries, pubs and restaurants around Central Texas that are hosting watch parties for April 17's inaugural Austin FC game.

Z'Tejas' chorizo dumplings are served on the Arboretum location's porch. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Z'Tejas to open in Avery Ranch; butcher, deli to open in Dripping Springs and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Chad Niland and Jason Sublett operate the restaurant, which has been open since 2016. (Lauren Canterberry/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Downtowner Bar & Kitchen reopens in New Braunfels after yearlong closure

The restaurant closed in March 2020 due to coronavirus restrictions and costs associated with operating at limited capacity. Now the owners are reopening with a new menu ahead of the summer season.

Plank Seafood Provisions opened inside The Domain in late March. (Courtesy Richard Casteel)
Seafood spot opens in The Domain; All Star Liquor now serving Georgetown and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Federal funding is set aside for public schools to address effects of the pandemic. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Why Texas has not yet distributed $18 billion in federal funds intended for public schools

As budget decisions loom for school districts across Texas, state leaders are holding on to federal funds intended for public schools to use in addressing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said power outages are not expected April 13, while requesting energy conservation. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
UPDATE: ERCOT call for energy conservation ends April 13 without need for power outages

An ERCOT official said "tight" supply and demand conditions arose on the state's electric grid April 13 due to forecasting issues amid planned, seasonal maintenance outages by some power generators.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended health providers pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine April 13. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
State, federal health authorities recommend pause of Johnson & Johnson vaccine after 6 rare, severe blood clots

Hub providers in Dallas, Harris and Travis counties have all announced they will follow the recommendations and pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Comal County have increased to 19, up from 13 on April 9. (Warren Brown/Community Impact Newspaper)
Comal County positivity rates pass 5% as area hospitalizations increase

The county has reported 189 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 since April 5, 109 of which are New Braunfels residents.

Work on a new NBISD elementary school campus is to begin this summer. (Warren Brown/Community Impact Newspaper)
Next NBISD elementary school campus to begin construction this summer

The school will eventually replace Carl Schurz and Seele Elementary Schools.

New Braunfels City Council unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance to restrict residency of convicted sex offenders. (Courtesy city of New Braunfels)
Child safety zones proposed in New Braunfels restrict where sex offenders may live

During an April 12 meeting, City Council voted unanimously to approve the first reading of the ordinance.