Utility usage during freezing temperatures

Many are bundling up to stay warm during these freezing temperatures.

Residents are also using more electricity and natural gas to heat their homes, which means a spike in utility bills.

One Acadiana Resident, Guy Scrantz, said he’s trying to keep the cost down.

“I’m putting it up to about 74, but need to put it down a little bit I guess,” said Scrantz.

Slemco Communications Manager, Mary Laurent, said customers behind on their bills actually get a slight break during freezes.

“Once it’s below freezing we will have to of course go on ahead and stop the disconnections just because it’s too cold to turn people off for not paying their bill,” said Laurent.

The Louisiana Public Services Commission prohibits utility companies from disconnecting customers when the temperature is 32 degrees or lower.

Laurent said the no-disconnect order does not relieve any customers of the obligation to pay their bills.

She also added that there’s ways to keep that bill from rising too much.

“Wear warm clothing, eat warm food and make sure that you can insulate your home at the bottom if you can with blocking the northside that sort of thing,” said Laurent.

Running water is also a concern during the winter months.

LUS Fiber Director Terry Huval said insulating lines is the best way to keep water flowing.

He warned against opening water valves in the home.

“It creates a great demand on the water system and if too many customers do that at the same time it could lower water pressure. Lower water pressure means if there’s a fire you may not have adequate pressure to be able to fight the fire,” said Huval.

Laurent said also remember to be safe around power lines during below freezing temperatures.

She added that ice on power lines could cause power outages.

“If of course any power lines fall or if they see any lines on the ground stay clear of that and call the utility company that’s involved,”said Laurent.

Laurent also warned residents against trying to conserve energy by turning on an oven or a gas stove to keep warm.

She stated both are considered a fire hazard.

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