Experts give tips to keep heating bills from skyrocketing

By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) - When the temperature falls, most people turn up the thermostat. Staying warm now could cost you big time later. Experts talked about what you can do to keep your electric bill from sky rocketing during this cold snap.

On Thursday morning, Diamondhead resident Larry Dedeaux decided to get a little fishing in before the extreme cold set in. He said he could relax knowing that when he got home his house would be nice and warm.

"I put the furnace on like 76 and just leave it on there night and day," said Dedeaux.

For people like Dedeaux, staying warm turns into higher electric bills later.

"With cold weather, we do see bills go up, obviously, as people use more power and use more electricity to run their heaters," Coast Electric Spokesperson April Lollar said. "We recommend that people keep their thermostats set on 68 degrees. We also recommend that you just bundle up while you're in the house. Don't walk around barefoot and in a t-shirt. Make sure you put on a sweater and some socks."

Coast Electric officials say turning off pool pumps and closing the flues of unused fireplaces are some of the ways homeowners can keep cold air out.

"We recommend especially if you have single pane windows, you can tact some plastic those windows," said Lollar. "And in the areas around doors. At the bottom of your doors to make sure those drafts aren't coming in and creating more cold air in your house."

Experts say while space heaters can seem like an economical way to heat a house, that's not always the case.

"If you plug in too many space heaters, sometimes all that does is create more of a drain, and that causes you to use more electricity and causes your bill to be higher," said Lollar. "So if you try to modify your thermostat usage and bundle up, we recommend that more than just plugging in a bunch of space heaters."

Coast Electric officials say they realize the slumping economy may cause a hardship on many people facing higher than usual electric bills.

Lollar said, "We try to work with people who need to make payment arrangements when they have high bills. We also really encourage our members to donate to the Share Your Blessings Fund. That's a way that our members who can afford to pay their bills can help those who might be in need."

Coast Electric, Singing River Electric and Mississippi Power all report record electrical usage this week. The companies say their servicemen are monitoring their systems to ensure quality, reliable service.

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