You may have been shocked when you received your heating bill this month. Bitter cold spells take a toll on your health and your wallet.
“In late December to early January, our region saw the coldest extended period of single digits temperatures that we’ve seen since the polar vortex, back in 2014. So that lead to really high usage, I mean folks had to use a lot of energy just to keep their homes warm, ” Phil Moye, AEP Spokesperson, said.
When temperatures are in the single digits, it takes more energy to heat your home.
“On average we’re seeing customers with electric heating, they’re seeing bills that are 20 percent to 50 percent higher than normal. But there are some folks that have seen their bills double or even more,” Moye added
But that’s not caused by a rate increase. The Public Service Commission of West Virginia said that no rate increases have been implemented in the past year by the 4 major power companies: Appalachian Power Company, Wheeling Power Company, Monongahela Power or Potomac Edison. AEP hasn’t raised their rates since mid 2016. But people still can’t afford their most recent heating bill.
“We have had people come into our office seeking assistance on power bills with a single-wide trailer for over a thousand dollars. Which is hard to believe, but when you think about how thin the walls are, the energy and the heat escapes so quickly so the heat is just constantly constantly running, ” Christina Cowley, Americorps Vista of United Way of Southern West Virginia, said.
The united way of southern West Virginia was given an emergency grant of 55 hundred dollars from FEMA to help with high utility bills, but the money has run out. AEP wants you to contact them first before reaching out to local charities, like the Beckley Dream Center or the Salvation Army.
“Contact us. Talk with us by phone, let us know your individual situation, and we’ll find a way to work with those folks and get them past their high bill, ” Phil Moye, AEP Spokesperson, said.
If you can’t pay your heating bill, you should contact your energy provider first and then charities like the Salvation Army or the Beckley Dream Center.