Expect a jump in energy bills this month

Published: Monday, February 10, 2014 at 10:05 AM.

Area electric companies are warning residents to be aware: Their next bill may see a spike due to the winter weather.

“A lot of people can be surprised because they say I didn’t change the thermostat. I know you didn’t but your system had to work harder,” said Paige Sheehan, spokeswoman for Duke Energy Progress.

With days of days of cold weather and a virtual shut down of the area thanks to an ice/snow storm, area residents have also been home more, which means more electricity is running at the house, according to Lisa Taylor-Galizia, spokeswoman for Carteret-Craven EMC.

“Everything adds on, but the heating is certainly what is going to drive them up,” she said.

Taylor-Galizia said it isn’t easy to guess how much the next bills will increase because of the number of variables that must be factored in, including the size of the house, if space heaters or heat pumps were used and how many items were running.

However, she said that customers used 20 to 25 percent more energy than is typical. The last time the cooperative saw such an increase was in January 2011.

According to the National Weather Service in Newport, the average temperature in New Bern during January 2011 was 39.3 degrees Fahrenheit. In January 2013, the average was 48.7 degrees while this January averaged 41.3, with some warmer days in the 60s and 70s.

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