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Summer electric bills could skyrocket, here's what you can do

Heatwaves and fuel costs raising electric rates
Thermostat heat cool home housing weather Nest
Posted at 4:00 AM, Jun 27, 2022

We're officially in the heat of summer, and just like with everything else this year, inflation is about to hit electric bills — possibly hard.

Some utility companies are predicting July bills could be 10-20% higher than last year.

As Latrice Bess was filling her car with expensive groceries, she said she was worried about her next utility bill.

"All this heat we are having, you have to keep your air conditioner running," she said.

That's going to be tough on top of her rising gas and food bills.

"Inflation is beating us up out here," she said.

Summer heat waves and the rising price of natural gas, which produces most of the electricity in the U.S., are to blame.

"They have increased. They have doubled this year," Duke Energy's Casey Kroger said. "We expect increased prices to sustain throughout the rest of the summer."

What to do to keep the bill down

Local hardware stores should have some inexpensive things to buy to lower the bill. Among them are some furnace filters that now alert homeowners when the filter is getting clogged because a clogged furnace filter will make the air conditioning unit use much more electricity. Ace Hardware's Jon Doucleff said these new 3M filters are "Bluetooth enabled, and it sends a signal to your smartphone to tell you it's time to change your filter."

Doucleff also suggests buying a fan that cools for just pennies. Then, turn up the thermostat. Utility companies said every degree higher saves 2-3% on an energy bill.

The website NerdWalletsuggested other simple fixes, including:

  • Sealing leaks around windows and doors
  • Closing the blinds
  • Swapping out old lightbulbs for energy-saving LED bulbs
  • Never run the oven on hot days
  • Using 'smart power strips,' which cut off electricity to devices when they're not being used

Lastly, for anyone struggling to pay a bill, NerdWallet's Kimberly Palmer said to apply for help.

"The first step is to call your utility company and see if they offer any programs or payment plans or payment forgiveness to help you get through that difficult period," she said.

That way, you don't have to pay the bill all at once, and you don't waste your money.


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