ALBANY, GA (WALB) – You may think the smaller the home, the smaller the utility bill, but that's not always the case.
Often, people in small, older homes pay as much or more than people in large houses for their utilities, and that can end up causing them financial hardship.
While every utility customer at the same company pays the same rate for their electricity, there can be radical differences in their bills.
And some of the people in the smallest homes can have some very big bills.
It's dark in Helen Warren's home. She keeps as many lights off as possible to conserve energy.
"I keep 'em turned off and I don't watch Television all day as you can see. I have it on maybe one or two programs and I cut if off to conserve," she said.
Even so, her power bill is often more than $200 a month. "I've had about $280 and I only have two bedrooms."
And one small gas heater is responsible for heating her entire home. Today, she didn't turn it on, because she didn't want to be wasteful. "You just can't leave the doors open and the heat on or your air condition on."
Especially in older, cinder block homes like the one Warren lives in.
"It is a big problem and it's very costly to heat, because you're warning up the air inside and the air is just moving out and a lot of times if they're made with cinder block, they may not have any insulation in the ceiling," said Jay Smith of Georgia Power
And windows also tend to leak air. "The things that they need to think about is to reduce heat loss in the winter."
Georgia power will go out to customers homes and help them find energy vacuums, as will Water, Gas and Light.
Adding extra insulation, especially in homes with crawl spaces, and making sure windows are properly sealed can help make sure bills don't get out of control.
"I have seen balances on accounts of $1,200 on houses that you wouldn't expect to have $1,200 bills," Smith said.
Helen has heard of some pretty big bills in her neighborhood, but she won't allow hers to get out of control. "You have to conserve, you got to work with it."
Keeping the lights off when not necessary, in order to keep them on when they are
If you find yourself in a position that you just can't make your utility payment, DFACS, the Salvation Army and Community Action Council may be able to pay part of your bill.
Georgia Power will also work with customers who are having trouble paying, but remember you need to call as soon as possible to make payment arrangements. Don't wait until after your power is cut off to call.