Energy Alabama to Help Local Churches Slash Energy Costs with Energy Benchmarking

HUNTSVILLE, AL—Energy Alabama is helping local churches and houses of worship get the most out of their utility bills and reduce church energy costs with energy benchmarking. More budget for work in the community is just a perk.

On Tuesday, February 7, Energy Alabama will host an Energy Benchmarking at Avion Solutions, Inc. on Research Drive in Huntsville. At this free event, local church representatives will have energy experts on-hand to help guide them through the process of using energy benchmarking to save money on utility bills.

Energy benchmarking is the process of measuring how much energy a building consumes, and comparing it to the same data from similar structures. This benchmarking “jam session” will bring energy experts together with church leaders to maximize energy and water efficiency throughout the community. In addition, businesses will be able to identify potential projects eligible for ENERGY STAR certification.

Tickets are free, although space is limited. The jam begins at 5:30 p.m. and finishes at 8:30. Refreshments will be provided. Each building representative should bring the following:

  • Laptop or tablet
  • The building street address, year built, and contact information.
  • Twelve consecutive months of utility bills for all fuel types used in the building.  Historical energy use data can be downloaded on the Huntsville Utilities website with an online account.

Space can be reserved at: http://alcse.org/events/church-energy-benchmarking/

About Energy Alabama

Energy Alabama is accelerating the transition to clean, sustainable energy throughout Alabama. We accomplish our mission by educating young and old alike, informing smart energy policy, and providing technical assistance to help deploy more sustainable energy. We believe in 100% sustainable energy for all.

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For more information about this topic, please contact Daniel Tait by phone at 256-303-7773, or by email at dtait@alcse.org.

utility bill explained

Your Huntsville/Decatur Utility Bill Explained

It’s that time of the month: bills. You go to your mailbox and get those white envelopes. You get to your utility bill and open it up. All the other times you’ve gotten this bill, you just look at the amount you owe, write the check, and you’re done with it. But, this time, you open it, and you decide you want to know what the heck you’re actually being charged for. Well, we are here to help! We are going to be looking at a couple of bills from Huntsville Utilities and Decatur Utilities and break them down so can find out what they mean for you.

Huntsville Utility Bill Explained

The image to the right  is a sample of the front of a Huntsville Utilities bill. The top sections are pretty obvious. They are the parts of the bill that tell you your account information, what you owe, and when you owe it by. Below that section, there are a couple of parts that break down your usage. The sections we are going to look at are indicated in a red box marked with a red A and a purple box marked with a purple B.

Section A: This section details the meter reading.  The utility company uses the meter reading to determine how much electricity you used that month. This section of the bill shows you the date the meter was read for this month and last month, the previous and present reading, and the amount of electricity used.

Section B: This bar chart portrays the electricity usage of the past 13 months, if available. You’ll notice that in our example there is not 13 months of usage perhaps because this person has not yet lived at the address for 13 months. This is just a visual representation for you to see how your usage changes month to month.

The photo to the left shows an example of the back of the Huntsville Utilities bill. This breaks down what you are being charged for in the bill.

Section C: This section breaks down the two charges of the bill: the availability charge and the consumption charge. The availability charge is the fixed cost of maintaining service to the resident and is the same no matter how much energy you use. For example, it covers things like meter reading and maintenance. The consumption charge is the charge for the amount of electricity used.

Section D: This section details the consumption charge. In this example, this customer consumed 695 kWh (kilowatt hours) of electricity. The charge per kWh is 0.088410. When you multiply 695 kWh by the charge of 0.088410, you get the charge for the consumption, which is $61.44. Adding the $61.44 to the availability charge, $8.88 in this example, gets you the charge, before tax, of your electric bill.

Decatur Utility Bill Explained

To right you’ll find a sample of a Decatur Utilities bill. Just like the Huntsville Utilities bill, the top half of this bill is pretty self-explanatory. It shows your account information, the amount you owe, and when you have to pay it by. There is one section in this particular bill that is important in understanding your charges.

This section of the bill gives you some details of your consumption analysis. It shows you the current usage, the usage from the last month, and the usage from a year ago. The section circled in red is where the information for your electricity usage will be. In one column, it shows you the total consumption in kWh (kilowatt hours), and in the next section it shows the daily average in kWh.

Note that your utility may show more than just electricity depending on how many products you purchase from the utility company. Each of the other products, like gas or water, will have breakdowns like the ones for the electricity; the main difference will be the units in which the consumption is measured, like gal (gallons) for water.

Huntsville Utilities Holds Public Meeting in Advance of Rate Hike Request

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Huntsville Utilities presented an electric rate increase proposal to the Huntsville City Council during the month of January.

Monday was one of four opportunities customers have to comment on the proposed 2.75% electric rate hike. The other three options are during scheduled Huntsville City Council meetings and work sessions.

“We understand that rates need to be raised from time to time especially if much of the increase will be used for better technology such as smart meters,”  said Daniel Tait, CEO of Energy Alabama.

They say they plan to advocate for more energy efficiency and access to renewable energy.

To continue reading, please visit: http://whnt.com/2017/01/09/tonight-huntsville-utilities-to-hold-public-meeting-in-advance-of-rate-hike-request/

Energy vs Power

Power vs Energy: What’s the difference?

Power vs Energy. What is energy? What is power? How do they work together? And why does it matter to you? These are all important questions in helping you understand what fuels the light, heat, and electronics in your home.

What is energy?

Energy is defined as a measurement of how much fuel is contained within something or used by something over a specific period of time. This is what your utility company uses to determine how much energy you consume each month, and they measure it in kilowatt hours (kWh), which is how many kilowatts per hour you use. So you know that consumption charge you see on your bill that says something like 652 kWh? It means your residence has used 652 kWh worth of energy in a month.

A lot of energy, yo.

Power on. Beep.

What is power?

Power is the rate at which energy is generated or used. It is the measure of how fast something is generating or using energy. A kilowatt (kW) is a good example of a measurement of power. You measure power by how fast something is generating or using energy. For example, the higher number of kW a building pulling, the faster that building is using energy.

How do they work together?

We’ve already found out that power is the rate at which something uses energy, so for something to have power it also has to somehow have energy to work. For your TV to have power, it has to be plugged into the wall where the electricity can connect to it. The electricity is the energy that gives your TV the power to project the new episode of The Big Bang Theory that you’ve been waiting to see. The energy you used is the amount of power over the duration of the time you watched TV.

The units that power and energy are measured in, kW and kWh respectively, are also related. This fact may be relatively obvious since they look pretty similar, but there is actually a little bit more involved. The two measurements are connected through math. (“OH NO! MATH!” But I promise this math is easy to understand.) To get energy, you multiply power by time. For kWh, it is kWh(energy)= kW(power)*time (usually hours). To get power, you divide instead of multiply. You divide the energy by time. For kW, it is kW(power)= kWh(energy)/ time. This is how the measurements are calculated.

Why does it matter to you?

We already know that power and energy are what powers (you see what I did there???) our day-to-day lives. It’s what charges our smartphones for us to stay connected during the day; it’s what turns our lights on when night time comes so we don’t trip over shoes on the floor or stub our toes on the furniture. (Although, stubbing my toe on furniture happens to me during the day time, so I don’t think that is the electricity’s problem.) In modern times, most of us couldn’t function properly without somewhere to charge our phones, a microwave to heat our food or something to heat the water for our showers. Understanding power and energy and how they work together is a good first step in understanding and appreciating the comforts most of us enjoy daily.

Sustainable Energy Initiatives for Schools

We have been teaching the teachers, and for that, their good work has been rewarded.

The team at Energy Alabama has created a number of initiatives for schools, communities, the private sector and non-profits, each leading to a more rapid acceleration of sustainable energy in the state.

Our work was recognized recently with the presentation of the Achievement Award for environment education, by the City of Huntsville’s Air Pollution Control Board.

To read the full article from the City of Huntsville, please visit: http://cityblog.huntsvilleal.gov/taking-class-alabama-center-sustainable-energy/