Lingering Cold Weather Leads to High Bills and Conservation Plea

Below-normal temperatures continue to hover over Greater San Antonio, causing higher than normal winter heating and utility bills. The unusually cold weather began in November when nine nights registered less than 40-degrees. December ended with 17 similar days.

“Customers here and across the nation are experiencing some bill shock because of the unusually cold weather, ice and snowstorms. For us, this is the time of the year where we normally get a break from air conditioning and use heating sparingly. But use of gas has tripled in some cases,” said Maria Koudouris, senior vice president of Customer Services and Solutions. “Payment plans are available for customers in need. But more important, we are making sure that those with normal, overdue bills continue to have power during this cold snap.”

CPS Energy extended a grace period for customers facing disconnection. The suspension, which began last month during the holidays, will continue through January 10.

With energy demand increasing as overnight lows dip into the twenties, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) asks Texans on the state grid to watch their energy use and conserve where possible.

Local businesses and residential customers can do their part by reducing energy use during the next 24 hours. Some easy energy conservation tips, which also will help manage bills, include the following:

  • Set the thermostat to 68 degrees during day and 65 degrees, or as low as comfortable, overnight.
  • Use ceiling fans at the lowest setting and in reverse mode to circulate warm air that is trapped near the ceiling.
  • Limit use of appliances with high energy consumption like washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, electric ovens and water heaters, especially during peak times of 6 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 8 p.m.
  • Lower the setting on water heaters to 120 degrees.
  • Turn off electrical appliances and devices, and unplug chargers that are not in use.
  • Turn off space heaters and lights when not needed or in empty rooms.
  •  Close blinds and curtains during the night to avoid heat loss.

CPS Energy customers are also reminded to assist meter readers in getting an accurate read by not wrapping gas pipes and meters. Gas does not freeze like water so cold weather does not impact service

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