1002 Central Parkway SW
PO Box 2232
Decatur, AL 35609
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Frigid January temps could mean higher February utility bills

February 7, 2018


Decatur Utilities customers will soon begin receiving their February 2018 billing statements which reflect usage of utility services for much of January. These bills will likely be higher due to long stretches of sub-freezing temperatures over the past month. In fact, it was below freezing 20 nights in January - many of those in single digits. (Source:

Heating Degree Days*, another way of measuring just how cold it was, totaled “890” for January 2018 compared to just “476” in January 2017 according to the National Weather Service. This extreme cold means heating units are working overtime and customers are inside more – a combination which can lead to higher usage.


There are a few steps customers can take to reduce energy usage. Setting the HVAC thermostat at 68 degrees is optimum. While they may sound cool, remember it’s still much warmer than the outside air temperature or wind chill factor. Ceiling fans should be set to rotate in a clockwise direction to keep warm air circulating back down to floor level. Opening curtains or blinds during the day allows free solar heat into the home. And DU reminds customers to seal up any cracks or crevices around windows and exterior doors to keep cold air out! More energy saving tips are available here.


DU encourages customers to take advantage of the additional information included on their billing statement to analyze usage trends and identify ways to save. “Each billing statement includes the dates of service for each utility service,” said Joe Holmes, communications and public relations coordinator. “This way customers can see exactly what period of time that bill covers.”


Also on the billing statement is a listing of each utility service, how much was used and a comparison of that usage to the same time period one year ago. The bill also displays the date the bill is due. Customers have a 14 day grace period after the due date before the service is subject to be disconnected.


“If customers have a question about their bill, they can contact our Customer Service Department at 256-552-1400,” Holmes said.



Sample bill illustration and explanation here.


More energy efficiency tips from TVA here.


Heating Degree Days Explanation:


Degree days are measures of how cold or warm a location is. A degree day compares the mean (the average of the high and low) outdoor temperatures recorded for a location to a standard temperature, usually 65°Fahrenheit (F) in the United States. The more extreme the outside temperature, the higher the number of degree days. A high number of degree days generally results in higher levels of energy use for space heating or cooling.


Heating degree days (HDD) are a measure of how cold the temperature was on a given day or over a period of days. For example, a day with a mean temperature of 40°F has 25 HDD. Two such cold days in a row have a total of 50 HDD for the two-day period.





For more information:
Joe Holmes
Communications and Public Relations Coordinator
Decatur Utilities