Winter has big effect on recent power bills

Updated: Jan. 23, 2018 at 10:17 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The first month of 2018 has been full of ups and downs when it comes to the weather. Just last week much of our area got snow.

If you made a mad dash to your thermostat and turned the heat up, local power companies say you can expect to see changes in your utility bill.

Chuck Billings with the Central Alabama Electric Cooperative says it experienced its highest December system energy use in more than six years, last month.

"When we look back in December, we saw some bills double because heating was involved," said Billings, Vice President of Customer and Energy Services at Central Alabama Electric Cooperative.

With continued cold temperatures, members could expect to see an increased cost for comfort when they open their electric bill for January.

"According to how efficient your units are you can count on heating and cooling, in some scenarios, usually accounting for about 50 percent of your bill," said Billings.

Mike Jordan with Alabama Power says it is never too late for customers to evaluate their habits and save money this winter.

"For instance reducing the thermostat, making sure garage doors are closed, and windows and doors are sealed properly can suddenly have a bigger impact," said Jordan.

Changing your air filter every 30 days, utilizing electric blankets, and setting the thermostat at 68 can also help. For every one degree change (up or down) that can translate to an approximate 3 percent increase or decrease in a customer's bill. Both companies also have systems in place where you can pay approximately the same amount each month, based on an average of your previous 12 months' electrical usage.

"It levels out the peaks and valleys that one may experience through the year. We may have higher than normal usage in January and it may be lower in March. Budget billing levels that out and gives some predictability," said Jordan.

Both Central Alabama Electric Cooperative and Alabama Power encourage customer to take advantage of online resources they have available that allow you to monitor your usage day by day and get alerts when your usage spikes.

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