According to City of Moultrie staff, for every degree that you raise your thermostat, that's a 5 percent increase in your bill. (Source: WALB)
MOULTRIE, GA (WALB) -
Now that it's the first of the month, many people are making sure their bills are paid, although some said their bills are much higher than normal.
People all across South Georgia have shown WALB their utility bills and how much they have gone up.
According to City of Moultrie staff, for every degree that you raise your thermostat, that's a 5 percent increase. So, if you raise it from 68 to 73, you're looking at a possible 25 percent increase in your bill.
It's been chilly this winter, in fact, our WALB News 10 First Alert Meteorologists said it has been one of the coldest winters in the last ten years.
It's human nature to try to stay warm, but utility staff said you should think twice before running to your thermostat.
"It has run everyone's electric bill up through the roof and we are well aware of that," said City Manager Pete Dillard.
People all over South Georgia have taken to social media and reached out to WALB, showing $800, $900, even $1,000 utility bills.
City of Moultrie staff said they have received many calls as well.
"The electricity does have to be paid for, but by the same token, we want to help as well," said Dillard.
In order to control your heating, City of Moultrie Utility staff said place your thermostat at 68 degrees or below, slowly heat up your home just two degrees at a time.
If you go over two degrees at a time, your heat strips may kick in, increasing your energy consumption, therefore raising your bill.
"We're all experiencing it, every council member, every director in the city, we've all had high bills. It's the worst I've experienced since I've lived in South Georgia," said Dillard.
City of Moultrie Utility staff said that many people turn off their units when leaving their house, that could be increasing your bill as well.
If you leave your unit off, come back to a cold house and raise your thermostat over two to three degrees to warm it up, that's going to cost you money.
"We're putting out all the education we can. We've worked out a way to spread out the payments to our customers. We're doing everything we can. We're suffering the same as individuals. We are suffering through the same high cost and we're doing what we can," explained Dillard.
The City of Moultrie is helping those who have been in their home for at least a year and have paid their last 12 months on time.
Those customers can pay their normal bill cost and spread the excess over the next three months.
Residents in Blakely reached out to WALB about high utility bills as well.
The Blakely Mayor Anthony Howard wrote this statement to WALB:
Providing reliable services to our citizens at the most reasonable cost is a priority with our City Government! At our City Council meeting on Tuesday, we had a larger than normal group of citizens expressing their concerns about higher utility bills. The City Council was asked to consider foregoing the 10% late penalty for our most recent utility billing. That is something that the Council is considering and will be announcing its decision prior to the 10th of February. As you are aware, the City of Blakely has many homes that have substandard construction, including older homes with little to no insulation. This substandard housing has contributed substantially to the use of more electricity to keep warm during the past months’ record low temperatures.
The City of Blakely if one of a few cities in the State of Georgia that offers citizens the ability to subscribe to a Pre-Pay utility billing system, whereby the citizen can monitor their usage on a daily basis and make payments at their convenience. With the pre-pay system, there are no penalties or reconnect fees. In addition, the City of Blakely participates in the LIHEAP energy assistance program to help low income residents with their heating cost. Another program that the City of Blakely offers is the “Home Energy Audit”, the City will send a home energy audit certified employee to the home to conduct an inspection. This inspection identifies and makes recommendations whereby the homeowner can make adjustments or repairs in order to conserve energy. This “Home Energy Audit” is free of charge to our citizens.
As a resource, anyone can access the Georgia Public Service Commission website and compare our rates with every other provider in the State of Georgia and you will find that the City of Blakely electric rates are in-line with surrounding providers.