Heating bills skyrocket after winter weather events

EUGENE, Ore. - Ice. Snow. Record cold.

As temperatures plunged this winter, home heating bills went up.

Way up.

"The first month it was - I figured it might go up a little," said Doug Campbell, a Eugene Water & Electric Board customer. "I didn't know it would double or triple."

That's the reality for many EWEB customers.

There is an explanation.

Joe Harwood at EWEB said that a heating system has to work harder during a colder winter.

"Even if you were heating it at a firm 68, your heating system requires more energy to keep it at 68 than when it's colder outside," he said.

So even if you don't turn up the thermostat, your energy consumption increases.

Harwood also said that meter readers couldn't complete their scheduled routes during the December ice storm or January snow storm.

That means some bills for this winter are estimated.

"When they estimate the bills, they're looking at historical usage of that particular address," Harwood said.

If this applies to you, you'll see the word "estimated" on your bill.

Harwood said that, if estimates were high or low, EWEB will try to even out charges in March when the meters are next read.

Some customers may see a credit. Others may see an extra charge.

While for some customers, the answer is more simple: the winter weather just left them out in the cold.

"What are you going to do?" Campbell said. "You've got to keep your family warm."

If you are unsure how to pay your bill, EWEB encourages you to contact their customer service center for help.

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