Grab the caulk! Middle Tennessee Electric says sealing up cracks in your home could lower high bills

For some customers, July electric bills now 35% higher than June's
Posted at 5:07 PM, Aug 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-03 09:02:05-04

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — For a number of reasons, people across Middle Tennessee received higher than normal electric bills for the month of July.

A free service for Middle Tennessee Electric members is helping homeowners save money. Home Energy Checkups identify energy inefficiencies and show homeowners which projects to prioritize if they want to save money on their electric bills.

"You don't think about... 'oh, there's a gap right above my thermostat... that's allowing heat to come through, and it's impacting my thermostat in how many ways,'" said Katie McKee.

McKee is with Middle Tennessee Electric. She's an energy services coordinator. She visits homes in the co-op's four-county service area where she essentially gives free money-saving tips to members.

"When you see cobwebs around the edge of your trim, you just have to find the smallest of cracks [and that's] where the air is coming through. Take some caulk and seal it up," McKee said. "Weatherstripping, foam spray — basic things — they, overall, don't cost too much but make a huge impact on the energy efficiency of your home."

Joel Vernon, a father of six, lives in a 2,700 square foot home in Murfreesboro. He got a $415 electric bill for July. The bill was about 35% higher than his June statement.

"Immediately, I told everyone in the house we have to make some changes, but I [also] need to find out why it was $138-148 dollars higher," Vernon said.

His one-hour no-cost consultation with McKee ended with a list of ways he can improve his home's efficiency.

"I think I'll get the attic tent up like she recommended, and then the caulking and then the weather stripping. I'll take it little by little," he said.

When it's extremely hot or extremely cold you don't always have to expect a high bill. Middle Tennessee Electric and other utilities offer levelized billing where residential members can pay the same amount every month.

A part of your bill that you don't have the power to change is the fuel cost adjustment. Local power companies get electricity from the Tennessee Valley Authority. TVA fuel cost adjustments are up again for the month of August. TVA says it's costing more to get fuel to generate power.