How do I report a power outage?
Contact our Communications center at 252-975-9320 to report outages, street and area light problems and downed lines/trees. Someone will be able to assist you 24/7!
Why had my utility bill increased so much?
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 125 degrees.
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.
How often should I check furnace filters?
Filters should be checked monthly. A well-maintained and clean furnace can cut your energy expense by 10% or more.
Do space heaters save energy?
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.
Should I close off unused areas of the house?
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.
Couldn't I save energy by using my fireplace along with the heating system in the winter?
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.
What are the major areas of heat loss?
Air infiltration areas:
- Floors, walls, and ceilings: 31%
- Duct systems: 15%
- Fireplace: 14%
- Plumbing penetrations: 13%
- Exterior doors: 11%
- Exterior windows: 10%
- Range vents/fans: 4%
- Wall outlets: 2%
What is the recommended temperature setting for my hot water heater?
Water heaters are now preset 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.
How do I pay my utility bill?
Washington Utilities offers several convenient options for payment of your utility bill:
- Pay online: Use your VISA/MasterCard/Discover credit or debit card to check your balance and pay your Washington Utilities bill over the internet Pay Your Washington Utilities Bill
- Mail payments: to City of Washington Utilities at P.O. Box 2226, Washington, NC 27889.
- Pay from your car: A curbside payment box is located on 2nd Street across from the Municipal Building as well as on North Market Street across from the Sheriff's office.
- Pay over the phone free: Call 1-877-201-3770 and make a payment. You will need your account number.
- Make payments at the counter with our customer service.
- Make payments over the phone with customer service for a $5 access fee.
- Automatic bank draft
- Automatic credit/debit card (on our website only)
- First National Bank (Washington location) accepts payments for Washington Utilities
- Washington Utilities also offers budget billing for equal payments year-round.
Call Customer Service at (252) 975-9300
Where should I plant my trees and shrubs?
Remember these 3 things when choosing where and what to plant before you start:
1. Trees and shrubs can grow into overhead power lines
Choose the right tree for the right place. If the wrong species is planted, this could result in the tree growing into power lines or becoming too tall and falling onto power lines.
2. Root growth can affect underground power lines
Do you have a pad-mount transformer in your yard? That green metal box is a vital part of your electric service and there are high voltage wires underground leading to the box!
Before planting, follow the instructions on your transformer box for shrub distance specifications and always call 811 before you dig to avoid a potentially serious injury.
3. Landscaping can help your home be more energy efficient
North Carolina summers can be hot! Trees and shrubs shade your home, patios, driveways and can even shade your air conditioner to help keep it cooler and running more efficiently. Even shading the area around your home can help reduce radiation and cool the air before it reaches your home’s walls and windows.
What procedures do I need to follow before I do any underground digging?
Call NC811 at 8-1-1 or 1-800-632-4949 before you start any digging project. State law requires a 48-hour notice.
How do I apply for new service?
Welcome to the City of Washington!
If you are moving into a residence with existing electric service, please complete this online form so we can help you set up your account. If you are establishing service at a location that does not have electric power in place, such as new construction, please contact us at 252.975.9300.