They say “failing to plan is planning to fail” but how do you budget for bills that are different every month? Chicago’s utilities have a solution. ComEd and Peoples gas now have budget billing. This estimates your annual costs and gives you an equal bill every month so you can budget accordingly.
So how do the programs work? Both programs are similar concepts but work a little different let's dive in.
ComEd’s Budget Bill: Calculated monthly bill payment based on the last 12 months, and adjusted after your first two bills, and then again every 6 months. If actual usage is over or under the amount billed in the previous six months the next six months will be adjusted for the difference, and whenever you decide to change plans or move, the balance or credit of your actual usage vs the estimated usage is applied to your last bill. Find more info at https://secure.comed.com/MyAccount/MyBillUsage/MyBillDetails/BillingOptions/Pages/Secure/BudgetBilling.aspx
Peoples Gas Budget billing: the plan works almost the same as ComEd’s plan except for one key difference, the actual usage vs billed amount is calculated annually and than applied all at once. So if you have a big credit you may not pay a bill for the following month, if you owe money, however, you can choose to pay it as a lump sum or split it over the next few bills. Find more info on People’s gas’s plan at https://accel.peoplesgasdelivery.com/business/budget_faq.aspx
At the end of the day knowing how much to budget for your bills can help save you from having to do your side hustle for extra cash or having to steal from your vacation fund when your utility usage spikes.