Winter freeze causes power bills to spike -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Winter freeze causes power bills to spike

By Tayleigh Davis - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -  Get ready to dig a lot deeper into you pocket to pay your power bill. Bills arriving in mailboxes now cover those couple of weeks this month when temperatures dipped into the teens or 20s every night.

A lot of people are shocked by the high cost of staying warm during the deep freeze. The parking lot at the Water Gas and Light building was bustling with people this afternoon paying their power bills.

Many customers weren't eager to bring out their checkbooks because they knew they'd be paying a lot more. Minnie Suttles was one of them. She was not happy when she opened her power bill for this month.

"My bill this month is extremely high," Suttles said. "Last month it was $331 and it just jumped up."

Her bill was $485 for January- up from about $200 on a regular month. 

"We're seeing higher bills and we knew we would," said Water Gas and Light Assistant General Manager Lorie Farkas.

Farkas recommends people set their thermostat at 68.

"68 is not warm enough for me," Suttles said. "It has to be about 72 degrees for me to be comfortable."

"People need to be aware as they move the thermostat up and down they're adding money to their bill," Farkas said.

She says every degree over 68 raises the bill three percent. That's nearly $15 extra a month for Suttles whos bill almost hit $500.

When bills inch over $250, Farkas says people can pay 75 percent of their bill.

" So we do try to bend over backwards to help people," Farkas said.

Farkas says the commission has no money set aside for people struggling to pay their bills, but it will make exceptions for those hit with emergencies. Among others, hefty medical bills or job losses count.

At the same time she advises people to clean their air filters once a month to allow air to flow more easily.

Minnie Suttles plans to weatherize her home. so she'll be prepared for the next time severe weather hits.

WG&L cuts off power from 3, 000 to 5,000 people each month.

Another way to prevent that from happening, run the hot water heater when it's being used . It counts for 15 percent of the bill when running all day.

If you're interested in a free energy audit of your home, contact Water Gas and Light at 883-8330 extension 502.

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