THE FIRST OF THE YEAR is the time to review your financial information for 2022 and prepare for that coming deadline to file your income tax returns. That is a task I don’t enjoy. However, it lets us look back at many things related to our family’s budget, where we spent our money and how we may be able to save money in the coming year.
In this issue, we discuss financial literacy for children. I had to learn some financial lessons the hard way. Neither my parents or the schools I attended discussed financial topics such as budgeting and investing. My parents did teach me that hard work is required, and I had odd jobs throughout my early years.
But, I wish someone had explained to me complex topics such as the stock market, mortgages, tax planning and how to invest money. I learned these lessons on my own.
This makes me think about how you, the consumer-member, look at your electric bill. When you look at the line items on your bill, they are sometimes confusing, and you quickly look at the bottom line. Environmental and fuel charges, taxes and how the rates are set are complicated topics. One goal of this magazine and your cooperative is to explain the complicated energy world of today in a clear and concise way.
Throughout the year, your cooperatives and I talk about ways to keep your bill as low as possible. Of course, your co-op must have enough money coming in to build new lines and keep the system reliable, but our not-for-profit business model is grounded in the financial concept of charging you only what it costs to deliver your energy.
We also provide tips on how to use less energy. Here are a few. First, check the temperature setting on your heating and cooling systems. When thermostats are kept at moderate settings, the unit runs less, thereby reducing your bill. Perform necessary maintenance on your heating and cooling systems to prevent them from working too hard.
Second, check the temperature settings on your water heater. Set it to 120 degrees or less. The higher you set the internal temperature, the more energy is used, which makes your bill higher. I understand a hot shower can be a blessing, but heating the water does impact your bill.
Third, don’t hesitate to contact your cooperative about your energy usage. Your cooperative is a trusted resource that offers advice to keep you safe and to keep your bill affordable. This magazine and the well-trained, skilled employees at your cooperative will help you navigate the energy world and answer any questions you have.