Heating bills expected to skyrocket after cold snap

YORK COUNTY, SC (WBTV) - The temperature outside may be heating up, but you'll likely feel one more shock from the cold snap: when your electric bill comes in the mail.

Duke Energy estimates customers used about 20 to 25 percent more power during the below freezing temperatures in December and January.

Meanwhile, York County Natural Gas saw record breaking usage on Jan. 3.

"It's probably going to shock a lot of people because it's probably going to be what it's like in the summer in the south," AMI Administrator for the City of a rock Hill Debbie Garrick said.

Duke Energy shared these tips to keep your bill down the rest of the winter:

Reduce your thermostat to the lowest comfortable setting when home, and bump the thermostat down a degree or two when leaving home.

  • Operate ceiling fans in a clockwise direction, which pushes warm air back down into the room.
  • One of the easiest things customers can do to support heating efficiency is to change air filters regularly. A dirty air filter makes a heating system work harder, which uses more energy.
  • Have the HVAC system checked regularly by a qualified heating and air conditioning contractor to maintain efficiency and peak performance. Duke Energy offers qualified customers rebates to help offset the cost of replacing older HVAC units with more energy efficient ones.
  • Leave drapes or blinds open during sunny winter days to allow the sun's rays to warm the house, but close them at night to help insulate your home.
  • Replace standard bulbs with compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs or light emitting diodes (LED). CFLs and LEDs are more efficient than regular bulbs, while giving off the same amount of light.

Other ways to conserve energy is caulking or weather taping cracks and holes throughout your house and close heat off to rooms you aren't using.

The Department of Energy estimates about 45 percent of people use space heaters and Garrick says those can also cost you.

"Those cost about 48 bucks a month if your energy consumption is 12 cents of kilowatt per hour," Garrick said.

If your electric bill is still too much to afford, York County Natural Gas says they will make payment arrangements with qualified customers.

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