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Today is December 18, 2018


Electricity worked extra hard for your household this winter

By Michael Callahan

Michael Callahan
Michael Callahan,
Executive Vice President/CEO
EPAs of Mississippi

If you’ve ever received a jury summons in the mail, you might have responded with a big groan, especially if there are already a lot of demands on your time.

But think of it this way: Be thankful you’re not the person on trial.

If you’ve ever been delayed on a busy highway while waiting to maneuver around a traffic accident, be glad you were not involved in the wreck.

Likewise, when you retrieve the power bill from your mailbox this month, think of all the things electricity did for you the past few weeks.

Electricity lit up your home and did your laundry while powering your TVs, laptop or computer games. It kept your smartphone charged. It roasted meat, toasted bread, brewed coffee, chilled milk, froze leftovers and washed the dishes.

Electricity dried your hair. It may have kept you warm and provided a hot bath on a cold winter day.

Electricity is looking more and more like a bargain, don’t you think?

Because we pay for electricity after we use it—unlike gasoline, which we purchase at the pump—we tend to forget everything it does for us over the course of a month. Then when the bill comes, we may be unpleasantly surprised.

Here’s the real surprise: Electric cooperatives across the country reported that kilowatt-hour use per household dropped by 8 percent between 2010 and 2016. That means we’re doing more with less energy.

But Mississippi really got slammed with frigid weather this winter, several times. Your kilowatt-hour use—which determines your bill amount—reflects the extra work electricity did to keep your household warm. Cold temperatures coupled with strong wind infiltrated every nook and cranny of your home, forcing your heating system to run longer, maybe even all night at times. Plus, your water heater and electric range probably put in overtime too.

Temperatures will begin to moderate this month as spring approaches, and your kilowatt-hour use likely will as well. But electricity will be there when you need it, for power tools, lawn equipment, outdoor lighting, air conditioning, the pool pump....

Springtime motivates many property owners to spruce up their landscape with outdoor projects. Maybe you’re thinking of building a new deck or workshop, erecting fencing or even adding a swimming pool.

Whatever the project, stop to consider electrical safety first. If you are planning to dig deep holes or use mechanical equipment to excavate for any project, you must call Mississippi 811 Inc. to have all underground utilities marked before starting to dig. Depending on the circumstances, the call may be mandated by state law (Section 77-13-5).

Even if you are only digging a few inches with a shovel, why not take advantage of this free service?

When you call 811, a customer service representative will ask you for details about the location and type of work you’re planning. Then, all utilities serving the area will be notified so they can send someone to mark the location of any underground utility lines.

The goal is to keep you, your family and your workers safe, and to avoid a disruption in utility service.

Your electric power association is all about electrical safety. If you ever have any concerns or questions about electrical safety, or if you come across a hazard like a downed power line, please call your electric power association immediately. We have the trained personnel, equipment and expertise to tackle any kind of electrical safety issue that threatens the public.

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