New CPS Energy Bills Leading to Sticker Shock

CPS Energy customers are reaching for the smelling salts after opening the bills which are arriving in the mail this week, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Some customers are seeing bills twice as high as for December and for January of 2017, and a handful are seeing even bigger increases.

But CPS Energy's Nora Castro says it has nothing to do with any rate increases or problems with the new 'smart meters,' which some have blamed in posts on neighborhood bulletin boards.  She says there is one reason for the bills...the super cold January weather.

"We saw near record low numbers of January 3, January 16, and January 17th," she said.  "Those were the days we were at or below freezing."

In fact, Castro says on January 16th, CPS Energy came very close to breaking the all time record for wintertime electricity generation, and that means residents were close to using all time record amounts of electricity.

She points out that twice in January, the city reported two or more straight days of below freezing temperatures, something which is not usual for this part of the country.

"Even if a customer doesn't touch the thermostat, and leaves it at the same level, when it gets that cold, your HVAC system has to work even harder to keep up with the temperature inside the house."

And Castro says something else happened during the January billing cycle, which for many customers actually begins in late December, which affected bills.  There were a lot of school vacation days, over Christmas, over MLK Day, and many schools took a snow day the day after MLK Day.

"The kids are home, I know my kids are home, that means they are messing with the thermostat and taking more hot showers."

Castro says it is discussing payment plans with many customers to help them deal with the high bills caused by the cold weather.

"The last thing we want is for our customers to feel that there is no help," she said.


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