Extreme temperatures lead to extreme bills - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Extreme temperatures lead to extreme bills

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By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –How much will you pay for utilities this year? If last year was any indication, it's hard to predict.

You probably noticed your power bill fluctuate quite a bit from month to month in 2010, and you can blame wild temperature fluctuations.

2010 was a year of extreme and record temperatures in many parts of the world. According to a representative from Mitchell EMC, those temperatures, even more than rate increases, affect how much you pay for power.

You may remember building a snowman outside your home last February, "That was the most snow we saw here probably since the 70's , that was two inches," said WALB Meteorologist Chris Zelman.

Or cooling off in the pool during the scorching summer, "We set the record for the all time hottest summer, that was set back in 1901, we beat it by a tenth of a degree," said Zelman.

2010 was a year of extreme temperatures, starting off with one of the coldest winters on record, leading into a record setting summer. And most of us adjusted our AC and heating units accordingly.

But those temperatures play a bigger role on your power bill than you may realize. "I've seen those rate increases make a difference of maybe 20 to 30 dollars a month, but I've seen weather cause a bill to sometimes double or even triple," said Sunny Cochran, an Energy Services Representative with Mitchell EMC.

Cochran says just about every power company in Georgia has increased rates in recent years, but it's the weather, that can make or break a power bill. "Weather plays a huge role on what your bill increases will be," said Cochran.

Meteorologist Chris Zelman says this summer his bill was higher than it's ever been. "It was probably about 80 dollars more than the summer before," he said.

Cochran reminds you that your energy company doesn't control your bill, you do. "Your usage on a daily basis determines what your daily bill is going to be," she said.

She recommends setting your thermostat at 68 degrees or lower in the winter. "The more you increase your thermostat above 68 degrees, for every degree you increase it you can add five percent to your total bill," she said.

And when it's forty degrees outside, don't expect to wear a T-shirt and shorts inside your home. "Put on a sweatshirt lower that thermostat,"she said.

She says just by educating yourself on the weather, you'll have more control over your bill so you will be able to pay it at the end of the month.

Cochran recommends keeping your thermostat at 68 degrees, and your water heater at 120, she also recommends learning how to read your meter, so you can figure out your personal usage. She says it's up to each person to decide what works best for their household.

The Climate Prediction Center expects much of the southeast to be colder than normal this month which means more big bills.

Mitchell E-M-C has tips to help you manage your bill. Click here for more information

You can link to their website from walb.com.

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