Upstate residents have questions about recent high utility bills - FOX Carolina 21

Upstate residents have questions about recent high utility bills

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(FOX Carolina)/Jan. 23, 2018 (FOX Carolina)/Jan. 23, 2018

Simpsonville resident Heather Davenport said she was shocked when she got her most recent electric bill.  She told us, she it was nearly double what she was expecting.

Davenport said, "We usually keep it set at 68 degrees and you know when I got a $310 bill I took it down to 66 degrees, and I said everybody put socks on."

Davenport told us, she isn’t alone, and many of her neighbors are seeing the same trends. 

“It just seems very very odd and that’s why I reached out on Facebook to see how everybody else is doing," she said. "And it was overwhelming the response that I got and what my neighbors’ bills were too.”

We reached out to Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas for answers.

Piedmont Natural Gas tells us, there are two reasons why their customers may be seeing higher bills.

Loree Elswick, a spokesperson for Piedmont Natural Gas, said, “You compare directly the wholesale cost of natural gas in December 2017 versus December 2016.  Natural gas is about 16% higher than it was last year so that combined with the much colder weather we’ve had this year than last year, it’s probably what’s causing our customers to see the higher natural gas bills this year compared to last year.”

Duke Energy told us it’s all about usage and said they don’t charge extra if you use electricity during peak times, but you do pay for what you use overall.  And that can add up when we spend more time indoors during the cold.

Ryan Mosier with Duke Energy said, “There are more people in the home, there's more activity in the home, so there's any number of factors that can cause your usage to go up when it is extremely cold out.”

Mosier told us some tips to try to lower your bill include things like turning down your thermostat a degree or two when you leave.  And opening up your blinds on a sunny day to heat your home that way.

To give you an idea of the average temperatures we are dealing with this year compared to last year, we asked FOX Carolina Meteorologist Ben Dorenbach.  He told us that in December 2016, the average temperature was 45.6 degrees.

In December 2017, the average was 44.8 degrees.

And in January of 2017, the average was 48.7 degrees.

So far this month, the average temperature is 35.4 degrees.

Both Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas say to call them with any questions about your bill.  Duke Energy  can be reached at 1-800-777-9898 and Piedmont Natural Gas can be reached at 1-800-752-7504.

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