FAQ

FAQ2019-12-16T10:39:15-05:00

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a high bill?2019-12-06T12:00:52-05:00

There are two types of high bills: those that are consistently high and those that have unusual “peaks”. The type can determine where members should start looking. A temporary “peak” more often indicates a change in weather patterns (colder or hotter than usual), a malfunction with an electric appliance (such as a failed water heater element or a well pump that continues running), using heat or cold making appliances such as a space heater or air conditioner, or leaving baseboard heaters turned on inadvertently. A consistently high bill implies the need for the homeowner to examine what appliances are in use and how long they’re in use, the age of appliances, unusual events or changed circumstances (additional people staying in the home, new or additional appliances in use) to determine individual patterns or changes in usage.

Basic residential use includes: refrigeration, lighting, electric heating or cooling, television and other electronic equipment. If you use electricity to heat water or dry clothes, your usage will be higher. If you heat or cool your living space with electricity, it is common to see higher bills over the coldest winter months and hottest summer months.

Why are my electric bills so high? Is this my problem?2019-12-06T12:00:57-05:00

Power companies cannot “push” power through the meter. Power surges that occasionally occur on power lines make virtually no difference in usage because they happen for such a short interval, generally less then one second. If power is registering on the meter then it is being used somewhere.

Most high bill problems can be unraveled by an examination of usage.

What are some of the common culprits of high electric bills?2019-12-06T12:01:05-05:00
  • Water pumps that are working over time, more than usual or inefficiently
  • Water heaters especially ones that are used often or have a damaged element
  • Water bed heaters
  • Space heaters
  • Heat tapes
  • Air conditioners
  • Aging refrigerators

Read your meter at the same time each month. By taking a regular reading each month you will keep your bill on a consistent 30 day cycle and avoid fluctuating bills. You can also take daily readings to see how much power you use in a day. You can experiment by turning off a suspected high usage appliance for a day and seeing what happens to consumption

All those things checked out, now what do I do?2019-12-06T12:01:34-05:00

When it comes to usage, any appliances that make heat from electricity should be the first change to consider. Many electric hot water heaters will consume 350-500 kWh per month, often far more where there are large families, leaking taps or hot water laundry usage. It is also important to make sure that your hot water heater is working properly. If you own your own electric water heater, call an electrician.

Another common source of high bills are electric space heaters placed in rooms that are rarely used. The space heaters can unknowingly be left on, leading to high usage. Also, the thermostat switches on these heaters can be unreliable and the heater may actually be on when the switch is in the “off” position. To ensure that heaters are off, it is a good idea to unplug space heaters or turn the breaker off at the main breaker panel.

Old refrigerators are also notorious for high electricity usage. If you have an old one in the garage or basement and can live without it, you will likely save a lot of kWh usage by disposing of it. If you can afford to replace an old one that is needed with a newer more efficient model, this will pay off in the long run with lower electric bills.

What else can I do?2019-12-06T12:02:08-05:00

Shut off your main circuit breaker(s) and look at your meter. It should be stopped and everything in your home should be off and unable to be turned on. If the meter is still moving, something is wired into your meter base in addition to your main service panel and you should find out what it is. An example of this may be an outbuilding that is serviced off the meter, but doesn’t go through your main circuit breaker. Any wire that runs to such a building is your responsibility and may have a fault in it. Turn your main circuit breaker back on.

Starting in the kitchen and with a pad of paper and pencil in hand, shut off or unplug everything in the home, noting down each appliance that you shut off so that you remember to turn it on again later. While you are writing down the appliances you are turning off, also note the wattage of the appliance and the approximate number of hours it is on each day. Use this information to complete the worksheet from Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op.

When you are finished the meter should be stopped. If not, you forgot something or there is something you don’t know about. Turn the appliances back on one at a time. After you turn on each appliance, go to the meter and see how quickly the wheel on the meter is turning. If one appliance makes the wheel turn faster then others, you should look specifically at that appliance for faults or malfunctions.

I have done everything you recommended and I still can’t figure out what is going on or I have figured out what is going on but still want to lower my electric bill. What can I do now?2019-12-06T12:01:42-05:00

Low-income consumers can contact their local Family Independence Agency and ask about their local Weatherization Program.  Weatherization contractors offer many energy saving services to income-qualified households and often know about programs that will help low-income consumers find help on lowering their electric bills.

What is SmartHub?2019-12-06T12:03:28-05:00

SmartHub is a powerful account management tool.

From your web enabled computer or mobile device, you can pay your bill, submit meter readings, check payment history, access billing statements and set recurring monthly payments With SmartHub, the power of data is in your hands. You can view monthly usage, report a power outage, and receive account notifications by text, email or both.

How do I create a SmartHub account?2019-12-06T12:05:23-05:00

On a PC, visit our SmartHub page to create a new SmartHub account.

On a mobile device, go to the App Store (Apple) or Android Market (Google Play) and find our free “PIE&G SmartHub” app (by NISC) and download the appropriate version depending on your phone’s operating system (Apple or Android).

The first time you login, you will have to review the terms and conditions. Once you accept the terms and conditions, you will then need to create a personal security phrase which you’ll need when you make payments, store or update financial information for future payments, or sign up for Auto Pay. Be sure to write down and save the security phrase in a safe place in case you need to refer to it later.

Can I enter a meter reading on the Web or in the App?2019-12-06T12:10:10-05:00

Yes.  On the Web, you will you may do this in SmartHubOn the App, you will select the Bill, Pay & Reading icon.  If you have multiple accounts, you will be able to select the correct account and service address.

I have multiple accounts. Can I see them all on the Web and in the App?2019-12-06T12:10:58-05:00

Yes. The Web home page shows all of your accounts with the amounts due and hyperlinks to other detailed information.  On the App, tap the Bill, Pay & Reading icon.  You will see the total due on all accounts and below that you can select different information by account, such as partial payment option, billing history and payment history.

Can I make a payment on multiple accounts?2019-12-06T12:11:03-05:00

Yes. On the Web: To pay the total amount owed on all accounts, click the Pay Now button in the upper right corner of the screen, or the Make Payment button on the home page. You can also make a payment to a single account or partial payments to all accounts by clicking on the Billing & Payments button.  It will allow you to check the accounts to be paid and change the amount for each account by clicking on Other Amount.  After entering the amounts to be paid, click the Pay Now button.

On the App: Tap the Bill, Pay & Reading icon.  If paying the total amount due, tap the Pay button.  If paying a partial payment, tap the Pay Partial Amount, tap on the account and adjust the Pay Amount.

Can a member view their business account and home account under the same SmartHub session?2019-12-06T12:09:57-05:00

Yes. There is a way to tie these separate memberships to the same SmartHub session. After registering one of them in SmartHub, you then can register the other as a new user with the same email and password.  You will then be able to view both accounts in either SmartHub Web or SmartHub Mobile.

How do I sign up for notifications? What if I want to receive notifications for multiple accounts?2019-12-06T12:08:34-05:00

Note:  After signing up for SmartHub, you will automatically receive a monthly e-mail notification when your new bill has been generated.

At this time you cannot manage your notifications through the Mobile App. In order to change your notifications, you must log into SmartHub on the Web, and click on Notification and Manage Contacts.  E-mail notification was automatically added to your account upon registration, and you will now have the option to add text notification(s) and additional e-mail addresses to your account.  Prior to a new contact becoming active, you will be sent a verification code via text or e-mail that will need to be entered to validate your new contact.

By clicking on Manage Notifications, you can select additional notifications to receive.  If you have multiple accounts, select the Options button to select which accounts you would like to receive the notification for.

How current is the account information I see on the Web or in the App?2019-12-06T12:09:39-05:00

The information you see on the Web and in the App is as current as the data we have on our systems. However, if you keep your App or the Web version open for an extended period of time, you should refresh the page by selecting a new option in order to ensure the information is still current.

What is the difference between the Web Version and the Mobile App of SmartHub?2019-12-06T12:09:31-05:00

The Web version allows you to register your account(s) to receive notifications through E-Mail and/or text message. The Web has a Profile page available for you to maintain your personal information, password, security pass phrase and stored payment methods.

The Mobile App is a native application that can be downloaded and installed on your compatible mobile phone or tablet device. The Web version is internet accessible from any web enabled device. Both the Web and the App version give you secure access to maintain your account information, view your bills, see payment history, make payments on one or more accounts, report meter readings, and report an outage.  They also allow you to monitor your monthly energy usage in graph format.

Is my browser supported?2019-12-06T12:09:21-05:00

QA Tested:

  • Internet Explorer 9,10,11 (IE 8 deprecation was just announced)
  • Chrome (latest production version)
  • Firefox (latest production version)

Not QA Tested (but should work):

  • Safari
  • Opera

Older browsers won’t support newer features:

  • Windows 7 and WinXP – the only options are to upgrade PC or download alternate browser.
How do I get the Mobile App for my phone?2019-12-06T12:09:13-05:00

The App is free to download and install. Just simply look for SmartHub in the Apple Store® (i.e. the App Store) or in the Android® Market (i.e. Google Play).

Search: SmartHub (not case sensitive but must be all one word). If duplicates appear, the correct App is provided by our service partner, National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC).

Is my phone or tablet supported?2019-12-06T12:09:05-05:00

Apps are supported on the following platforms:

  • IOS 3.1 and above (iPhone and/or iPad)
  • Android 2.1 and above (smartphones or tablets)
Is the Mobile App secure?2019-12-06T12:08:58-05:00

Yes! All critical information is encrypted in every transaction run and no personal information is stored on your mobile device. Mobile devices do offer you the ability to store your login information for Apps installed on the device. If you choose to store your login information, any person who has access to your mobile device can access your account.

Can I report an outage on the Web or in the App?2019-12-06T12:08:30-05:00

Yes. On the Web version of SmartHub (your computer), sign into “Manage My Account”, and select “Report An Outage” on the Home page under Quick Links or under My Profile and Outages. On the mobile SmartHub App, select the “Report An Outage” icon. If you have multiple accounts, you will be able to select the correct account and service address.

Note: If there is a known outage that affects your service, it should be noted on your outage screen.