Utility companies keep customers power on during cold weather - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Utility companies keep customers power on during cold weather

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

As we settle in to this cold pattern, utility companies and firefighters are sharing information to help you stay warm and safe.

More cold days are ahead for south Georgia. Water, Gas and Light and Georgia Power say they're dedicated to keeping customers warm. If you are behind on your bill and its 32 degrees or below, they won't turn off your power.

"It's very rare that we have such a cold winter, usually we get one or two days usually not together. Historically our really cold weather comes the end of February and March," said Lorie Farkas, WG&L.

A state law prevents utility companies from shutting off power during below freezing days. But once it warms, customers will be responsible for the accrued costs.

"When those late fees and penalties appear, people get mad and don't want to pay them and they say, but you didn't cut me off , but that's a safety issue," said Farkas.

Also, during the cold weather, the Albany Fire Department reminds people to practice safe heating tips. Especially the use of space heaters.

"Can't do a whole lot about the cold, but we can be more careful , when we use those kinds of appliances and one you got to realized they are not intended to be used 24 hours," said James Carswell, AFD Chief.

Space heaters caused several fatal fires so far this year. Albany's Fire Chief says you need to be cautious if you use one.

"Never leave a space heater on when you leave the room, if you're going to use it, put on extra clothing and turn it off to make sure it has the opportunity to cool down. If you don't do those things then you got the ingredient to cause a problem.

Even though we're not experiencing record low temperatures, it is much colder than average, and the deep freeze will continue.

Here are some cold weather tips from Georgia Power.  

1. Set your thermostat to 68 degrees or lower and maintain a consistent temperature in the house.

2. Open curtains and shades on the sunny side of your house to let the sun warm your home naturally.

3. Ensure that heating vents are clear of any obstructions – such as furniture or drapes.

4. Caulk or weather strip around all doors and windows.

5. Insulate the steps to your attic. Heat rises and uninsulated attic steps allow warm air to escape.

Visit www.georgiapower.com for more winter weather tips, as well as instructional videos that provide step-by-step instructions for making homes more energy efficient throughout the year.

In addition, customers are encouraged to take advantage of Georgia Power's new My Power Usage program. Available once residential customers are logged in to their online account, the program provides detailed information about how they are using their energy including when they use the most power, their overall daily usage and even their projected bill.  

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