'January this year was very cold': Some people seeing energy bills soar $200 after winter storms

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Thursday, February 17, 2022
Some people seeing energy bills soar $200 after January storms
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Some people seeing energy bills soar $200 after January storms

The cost of staying warm is really burning a hole in some people's wallet. People are beginning to receive mind-bending energy bills in the mail. The cost for some households is doubling and it's putting more financial stress on those already dealing with inflation.

One Garner resident recently being notified that cost are shooting up more than $190 from last month.

A Clayton homeowner pulled up his Duke Energy Progress billing history, showing an 81 percent spike from the same time last year.

ABC11 took the concerns to Duke Energy Progress.

Spokesperson Jeff Brooks says there have been some added costs over the last 12 months.

There has been a rate increase, a fuel adjustment and another charge added. Brooks estimates that it would account for an extra $10 a month and says there's a reason for the big jumps.

"January this year was very cold," said Brooks. "We had some really extended periods of cold weather. We also had a lot of winter weather, which is a lot for this part of the country, so that account for some of the usage that we're seeing."

The energy company has been getting in complaints and at the same time, Wake County is fielding a number of applications for financial assistance.

The spike is being attributed to heating costs and the ripple effects of COVID-19 crisis.

"We are seeing a very high volume, so there could be a slight delay in responses," said Wake Economics Benefits Manager Janny Mealor.

There are several programs to help you through a hardship.

Two main programs to apply for assistance with:

Emergency/Crisis Heating Assistance (CIP)

  • Generally available in October through April (depending on funding and temperatures).
  • Helps with primary heating sources like electric, natural gas, LP gas, kerosene and wood.
  • This program helps with past due accounts, disconnected accounts or for establishing new services.
  • To be eligible - must meet income requirements and be experiencing or in danger of experiencing a heating-related emergency (life-threatening or health related emergency).

Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP)

  • Available December - March, or until funds are exhausted.
  • Early application period begins in December for individuals aged 60 or older or a person with a disability and receiving services from NC Division of Adult and Aging Services.
  • Regular application period January - March is open to anyone meeting the income guidelines.
  • Helps with primary heating sources like electric, natural gas, LP gas, kerosene and wood
  • Does not require a past due bill and can help create a credit balance.
  • To be eligible - must meet income guidelines.

"It can be just an extra payment and it alleviates some of the extra high bills that we're seeing for heating," said Mealor.

Residents can apply online through the state at epass.nc.gov