Weather in South Louisiana goes from cold to hot in a matter of hours. But this winter season, the bitter cold has stuck around. It's the coldest this area has seen in the last 20 years. Those low temperatures also mean high utility use. Many people's bills have gone from double to triple digits.
Andrew Duhon with Lafayette Utilities System says it's simply because people are kicking on the heat.
“Our rates have actually stayed the same,” said Duhon. “Usually fuel adjustment charges fluctuate with the fuel market.”
Duhon says this winter, the average household's utility use has gone up by 20% and lingering cold weather isn't helping.
“The weather has been extremely cold. The average temperature has been seven degrees lower than normal,” said Duhon.
If your utility bill is causing you to pinch pennies, remember you must also pinch numbers because when it comes to temperature, every single degree counts.
Other factors like poor insulation can keep the heater kicking on. But if you simply can't do without, Duhon recommends keeping it at 68 degrees while you're home and avoid shutting off completely when you're not.
“When you're away from home or asleep, set your thermostat to 65 degrees and you should see some immediate results in the reduction of your utility bill,” said Duhon.