Q: How much will I save with a nighttime temperature setback in
A: If, on a regular basis, you turn your thermostat back
five degrees for an eight-hour period at night, you will save approximately
11% on your total fuel bill. If your nighttime setback is 10 degrees,
you will save about 15% on your bill. The exception would be a heat
Q: Do I really save? Doesn't it just cost more to heat the house
back up in the morning?
A: Yes, you do save. The amount of energy needed to raise
the temperature in the morning is less than the amount needed to maintain
the higher temperature for eight hours at night.
Q: Can I lower my heat pump thermostat at night for a savings?
A: Only if you have a programmable heat pump thermostat.
If you don't have one, set your thermostat at the lowest possible
temperature needed for comfort and leave it there both day and night.
If you lower the thermostat five degrees at night, when you turn it back
up in the morning, the electric heat strips (the back-up heating system)
will come on and cost you energy dollars. The heat pump thermostat
senses when there is a two to three degree difference between the thermostat
setting and the inside temperature and automatically activates the heat
strips to achieve the desired temperature.
Q: How often should I check furnace filters?
A: Filters should be checked monthly. A well-maintained
and clean furnace can cut your energy expense by 10% or more.
Q: How does a heat pump work?
A: It's a simple machine that absorbs and moves heat
to provide heating comfort in the winter and cooling comfort in the summer.
It heats by taking heat that naturally exists outside, even in the winter,
and pumping it inside. It cools by taking heat from the air inside your
home and pumping it outside.
Q: Do space heaters save energy?
A: A space heater involves electrical resistance heat
and is, therefore, expensive to operate. But it is cheaper to heat a small
room with a space heater than to raise the temperature of the entire dwelling
with the central system.
Q: Should I close off unused areas of the house?
A: It depends. In older or poorly insulated dwellings,
if you have unused rooms and areas, keep them closed off. If you have ducted
warm air, however, closing off more than 15% of the total floor area may
interfere with air circulation patterns in your home and cause your heating
system to operate improperly. In new energy efficient homes, it does not
save energy to close off supply vents or rooms and may actually cause problems
to the central HVAC system.
Q: Couldn't I save energy by using my fireplace along with the
heating system in the winter?
A: No. If you're using the heating system, you
are paying to heat your inside air. The fireplace uses inside conditioned
air for combustion pulling the expensively heated air right up the
chimney. If the fireplace does not have an outside air source, we
recommend closing off that room and leaving the window closest to
the fireplace slightly open. This allows air to be drawn through
without using conditioned air from the rest of the house.
A fireplace is considered an energy waster because the damper must
remain open for up to 24 hours after the fire dies down. The heat loss through the chimney
during this period far exceeds what was gained when the fire was
burning. Your chimney's job is to suck large volumes of air out of
your house, and it does so even when the damper is closed.
Q: What about insulation?
A: Proper insulation will help reduce heating and
cooling costs because insulation prevents air from escaping.
Q: What are the major areas of heat loss?
A: Air infiltration areas
- Floors, walls, and ceilings 31%
- Wall outlets 2%
- Duct systems 15%
- Exterior windows 10%
- Fireplace 14%
- Range vents/fans 4%
- Exterior doors 11%
umbing penetrations 13%
Courtesy of EnergySavers.com
Q:How much insulation is needed?
A: Floors - R-19
Heat doesn't just rise; it goes from a warm surface to a cold surface
so it is beneficial to insulate floors with fiberglass. Carpeting
adds an R-value of 1.3.
* Ceilings - R-38
Insulate attic access doors with weather-stripping. (Attic
access doors are often located right above the thermostat.)
* Walls - R-19
If an older home does not have wall insulation, do not insulate
unless a total renovation is planned. Blown-in insulation is
not always cost-effective for older homes with no wall insulation.
Storm windows add little R-value. Their benefit comes from
reducing air infiltration.
- Caulk anywhere two different materials meet such as brick and
- Weather-strip things that can move such as doors.
Q: What about water heaters?
A: Water heaters represent 15-20% of the
total energy bill.
Q: What is the recommended temperature setting for my hot
A: Water heaters are now pre-set at 120 degrees,
which is our recommended setting. A typical 52-gallon tank
averages 500 gallons a week. By lowering the temperature from 150
degrees to 120 degrees, you save $160 a year.
Q:Does my water heater need an insulating
A: It depends. Most new water heaters use foam
insulation; no more is necessary. But if the water heater is warm
to the touch, add a jacket. An insulating jacket used on a water
heater that is located in an unheated area has a payback period of
around six months.
Q: Will I save money by turning off my electric water heater
for periods of time?
A: If your electric water heater is not on for
more than two hours in a 24-hour period, you can save money.
You should not use the water heater’s breaker as a daily switch.
It is a safety device; install a separate disconnect switch if you
plan on turning off your electric water heater regularly.
For more information on the City of New Bern’s Load Management
Program Click Here
Q: How much does it cost to have an area light installed
at my property?
A: Residential lighting rates:
1. 150w high pressure sodium area light $18.74/mo.
2. 400w metal halide directional flood light $33.15/mo.
3. 1000w metal halide directional flood light $44.60/mo.
4. Charge for wooden pole $2.93/mo.
5. Underground service charge $4.90/mo.
Q: What is required to get a residential area light installed
on my property?
A: The City of New Bern requires a signed three-year
contract for overhead service and a five-year one for underground
service. Click Here for
printable contract. This file opens with Acrobat Reader. If you do not have Reader, click link below to download free copy.
Q: Are there any up-front costs to have a security light
A: No. After the contract is signed and the light
is installed, the light rental fees will be added to your next bill.
Q: Can I have an area light installed on my own pole?
A: No. The City of New Bern requires that security
lights be installed on our poles.
Q: Why am I being charged for a street light on my bill?
A: If you live in a subdivision outside the City
limits but served by the City of New Bern, there is a monthly charge
for each resident in the subdivision for street lighting.
Q: What type of lighting is available for commercial customers?
A: 1. A 150w high pressure sodium cobra head light for $18.74/month.
These can be installed either on a wood pole for pole for $ 2.93/month
or on a green fiberglass pole for $6.94/month (or opt to pay the
difference between the cost of a fiberglass and wood pole and then
pay the additional $2.93/month charge).
2. A 150w high pressure sodium colonial style light for $18.74/month.
These lights are installed on a 16' black fiberglass pole for $6.94/month.
3. A 400 w metal halide flood light for $33.15/month.
4. A 1000w metal halide flood light for $44.60/month.
Commercial/Residential New Construction
Q: What do I have to do to get new underground electric
service to my residential/commercial building?
A: We have a list of requirements for both residential
and commercial services.
For Underground Service Requirements, Click Here
Q: Is there a cost to convert my overhead service to underground?
A: Yes. There is a standard fee of $385 for the
conversion. There is also currently a cost per foot of $2.40 to cover
the cost of our underground conduit and wire.
Q: Why has my utility bill increased so much?
A: The higher utility charges are usually the
result of increased usage of either electricity or water. The heating
and cooling system in a home is the largest user of electricity.
Most electric usage increases can be traced to changes in weather
conditions. Sometimes a heating or cooling system is turned on during
mild weather. There could be periods of colder or hotter weather
that occur during the night or during the day while the customer
is away from home and a thermostat is still active. In addition,
extremes in weather conditions significantly impact monthly utility
charges. The temperature that you set your heat or cooling system
on plays a big part in the amount of energy used.
The next largest user of energy is the water heater. Be sure the
elements are working properly and the temperature setting is around
After the water heater comes the electric dryer and stove. Check
these to ensure that dryer vents are not clogged and heating elements
are operating correctly.
Q: Why does my bill say “estimated” on it? Don’t
the meter readers read my usage every month?
A: Our meter readers will always read your meter unless there is
an obstacle of some kind preventing them from doing so (e.g. locked
gates, dogs, etc.). It is the customer’s responsibility to
insure access to all meters or make arrangements with meter reading
Q: How is my bill estimated?
A: Your bill is estimated using a comparison of last year’s
billing to the charges for the current year’s previous three
months. Any difference in usage will settle up on the next month’s
billing when an actual meter reading can be obtained.
Q: Can I pay my bill over the phone?
A: The City of New Bern does not take payments
over the phone at this time. We do have a service through OPC that
you can call at 1-800-272-9829 to
pay your bill plus a small additional fee. Click
here to pay online with the same service.
Q: What is the last day I have to pay my bill without having
my services disconnected?
A: There is a 2.5% late penalty for payments received after the due date. A $30.00 delinquent account processing fee will be charged for bills that remain unpaid after the 10th day following the due date. The account is subject to disconnection of services at this point.
Q: Why doesn’t the City of New Bern give a notice
before shuttingoff the power?
A: Payments are due by the due date listed on the bill. If the bill remains unpaid after the 10th day following the due date, door hangers are left giving customers with good payment history an extra notice so they may contact the office and make a payment.
Q: Can I look at my bill online?
A: No. We do not currently offer online bills.
Q: Can I get a copy of my bill for the last 12 months? Is
there a charge for that service?
A: We provide that courtesy to our customers at no charge. The only
thing we need to know is whether you would prefer to come to the
office or have it mailed.
Q: My bill is due on the weekend; will my lights be cut
off before Monday?
A: No. It would be in the customer’s best interests, however,
to make arrangements for payment the Monday after the due date.
Q: Where do I pay my electric bill?
A: Bills are paid at the Customer Service office located at 606 Fort Totten
Drive on the corner of Broad Street and Fort Totten Drive (old First
Citizens Bank building).
Q: Will the City cut down a tree for me?
A: If the trunk of a tree is within 15' of our primary (high voltage
lines), we will cut it down. If the limbs are within that 15' zone,
we will trim the limbs back to the “safe zone.” A customer
can request that a tree be removed instead of trimmed if within the
15' zone. Trees will not be cut down if they are within 15' of a
secondary (120V, 240V, 480V, etc.) line. Limbs may be trimmed if
they pose a danger of shorting out the electric service.
Q: Is this where I report a power outage?
A: Yes. Please contact Utility Control at (252) 636-4070 to report
power outages, downed lines, street and area light problems, and
water and sewer problems after 5 p.m. and on holidays and weekends.
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