How it works in NY
In NY, seasonal changes can greatly affect your monthly energy bill. Extreme winters can be a cause for high electricity prices and high usage. Your bill can vary significantly each month over a whole year. There can be a substantial difference between your bill in the months of high demand, and in the months of low demand. To avoid this variation in bill amounts, you can sign up to Budget Billing. Budget billing (also called Budget Plan or Level Payment) spreads out your bill equally across the whole year. Your utility company will predict your monthly usage for the coming year, and spread out your payments equally over the coming year. Most utility companies in NY offer this program, so contact your utility company to find out more about it.
This estimation is made by looking at last year's electricity/gas usage. From this, the utility will predict how much the customer will be using this year, and divide it up equally between each month. If your usage is not exactly the same as last year, the utility company will make rectifications on this estimation every few months, and adapt this averaged payment to the current usage. Each month the customer will receive a normal bill with the electricity & gas used that month, and describe what the customer should be paying if there was no budget billing, and what the customer is in reality paying with budget billing.
Are you eligible for Budget Billing?
This will depend on each utility company, but globally there are some basic conditions you must usually fill in order to be eligible:
- No outstanding fees. You must not be a customer that pays their bills late. Or else the utility company will not trust you to advance you money for budget billing.
- Have an account since 12 months. It is necessary for the utility company to make the estimations of your upcoming usage to have 1 year's worth of data on your energy usage. In some cases it might be possible for the utility company to set up budget billing only after a few months, but the estimations will be gross and will require to be adjusted.
Who should sign up
You should sign up if you have found yourself struggling with your energy costs during parts of the year. This will help you flatten your energy expenses, and avoid not being able to pay your bill and receiving late payment fees.
How to sign up
To sign up, you must contact your utility company directly and give them your account information, which you can find on your previous bill (or by giving your name and the phone number you have on file with the utility company).