News Center > Suffering From a High Winter Electric Bill? Extreme Temperatures Drive Up Usage
Suffering From a High Winter Electric Bill? Extreme Temperatures Drive Up Usage
Winter brought extreme cold weather to southeast Texas this season, which prompted record-low temperatures and high electricity usage in late December and early January. As a result, some Entergy Texas customers are experiencing higher-than-normal electricity bills.
When the cold strikes, demand for electricity increases.
Heating and air conditioning can make up 55 percent of a home’s energy usage. When it is extremely hot or cold, it takes more energy to keep the home at the temperature you have set on your thermostat.
Energy usage is especially higher in homes that are heated with electricity and structures that are not well-insulated. Mobile homes are especially at risk of high bills in winter because they often are both all-electric and cold air can get under the home, where it might not be as well insulated. Older homes may have gaps in window seals and siding that might allow cold air to creep in.
Space heaters, electric fireplaces and electric blankets also require significant demand of electricity, causing big spikes in usage.
Understand Your Bill
Better understanding your Entergy bill can help you make better choices to control your energy usage.
The energy charge covers the cost of operating and maintaining Entergy’s system. For electricity, this includes the cost of power plants and power lines. To calculate the electric energy charge, multiply the total number of kilowatt hours (kWh) used during the monthly billing period by the current rate per kWh.
The fuel charges on your bill cover the cost for the fuel needed to generate electricity and any purchased power acquired to meet customer needs. This charge is a dollar-for-dollar pass through to the customer and is closely regulated. Entergy does not profit from the monies collected through the fuel charge.
Entergy recently announced a reduction in the fuel charge that helps provide a reduction of approximately $8 per month to the average residential consumer.
Additionally, you may notice a new line on your bill regarding an “advanced metering charge.” This goes directly to investing in advanced metering, which will put more control in customers’ hands, including improved outage detection, faster restoration response time and more information and tools available to help customers make better decisions about energy use. For more information, visit http://www.energyfuturetexas.com.
What Can You Do?
If your energy bill was higher than usual this month, here are some ideas:
- Find out why. You can dig deeper into your bill with Entergy’s Analyze My Bill. This interactive tool allows customers to compare their energy usage (and the temperatures in their area) over time and learn more about fuel costs. With this knowledge, customers can pinpoint the best ways to save money. Check it out here: http://entergy.com/analyzemybill/
- Request more time. Qualifying customers who need additional time to pay their bill can call our automated answering system at 1-800-ENTERGY (1-800-368-3749) to request an extension. Extension can also be made through myAccount at http://entergy.com/extension/index.html
- Get assistance. There are times when everyone needs a little help. When your income won’t stretch any further, we have programs available for both emergency bill payment assistance and long-term relief. Learn more: http://www.entergy.com/our_community/bill_help.aspx
With several more weeks of winter ahead, future cold snaps are likely. These tips will help you manage billing and usage, so you can stay comfortable without breaking the bank:
- Make your bill more predictable. Level billing can help you with your monthly budget. With level billing, your energy bills are averaged over a rolling 12-month period, making them about the same amount each month. Sign up here: http://entergy.com/features/levelbill.aspx
- Customize your billing schedule. Our Pick-A-Date program lets you select a billing date that best suits your situation. Learn more: http://entergy.com/save_money/pickadate/
- Save energy and money. Using energy more efficiently can have a dramatic impact on your bill. Set your thermostat at 68 degrees, blanket your water heater and weatherize your home. Here are more tricks and tips: http://circuit.entergy.com/save-money
- Think long term. Entergy offers more than 30 energy-efficiency and demand-side management programs for our customers. These rebates and incentives can support you as you weatherize your home, invest in energy-efficient appliances and service your HVAC units for the best performance. Find out what’s available in your area: http://www.entergy.com/environment/energy_efficiency.aspx
Cold weather is definitely here, and heaters may be humming. But low temperatures don’t have to mean high bills. By understanding and managing both usage and billing, Entergy customers can keep cozy all winter long.
Entergy Texas, Inc. provides electricity to more than 450,000 customers in 27 counties. Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly 9,000 megawatts of nuclear power. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.9 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of approximately $10.8 billion and nearly 13,000 employees.