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Brazos County residents experience high electricity bills as temperatures rise

Posted at 11:07 PM, Jul 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-08 00:07:06-04

BRAZOS VALLEY, Texas — Texans are seeing some of the highest utility bills they've seen in a while. We learn from local utility companies how you can keep your home cool this summer and see some relief on your next electricity bill.

Devon bass is the co-owner of Vault Electricity and shares with us how Texas electricity is high across the board.

“Across the state, rates right now are up 40 percent from where they were just three months ago,” said Devon Bass, Co-Owner, Vault Electricity. “There’s really no part of the state that hasn’t seen that rise so it’s a very painful experience that we’re going through right now.”

Bass offers some suggestions on how we can keep our homes cooled this summer.

“Keeping lights off in rooms that aren’t being used, if there’s enough light coming in the windows, just leave the lights off,” said Bass.” That’s what we’ve been doing in our house. Even though it’s painful, turn up your AC thermometer just a tick, every little bit will help lower that electricity bill somewhat.”

But for College Station resident Samantha morrell, keeping her ac above 75 degrees, all day isn’t being reflected in her electricity bill.

“For the past couple of months when I got that first high bill, I was like forget it,” said Samantha Morrell, College Station resident. “I’m leaving it at 78 all day and we still got repetitively high bills.”

Meagan Brown with Bryan Texas Utilities also recommends setting your thermostat to 78, but if that’s uncomfortable…

“If you can’t quite do that, try to set it about four degrees of what feels really good,” said Meagan Brown, PIO, Bryan Texas Utilities. “Four degrees higher of what feels really good. So if you’re someone that sets it at 70 degrees, try 74, 75.”

“Rates have never been this high,” said Bass. “So this is literally historic high for Texas.”

“It’s been about 200 for about a month, maybe two months already but last year, comparatively, I was sitting at about 150-170 maybe, and we were having the AC all the way down to 72,” said Morrell.

This month, Morrell’s bill was over 240 dollars, almost double from last summer.

Bass says this is happening across Texas.

“We’ve never seen a rate increase like we have right now,” said Bass. “Some parts of Texas, prices are literally double where they were this time last year.”

The question we all want answers to is, why are we seeing high electricity bills beyond the hot temperatures?

“The majority of Texas electricity comes from natural gas,” said Bass. “The price of natural gas literally has gone up 500 percent in the last two years, and it’s moved up 40 percent in the last one month.”

With the price of natural gas elevating, Morrell and her husband are now cutting into their savings to pay their bills.

“It’s cutting into our savings,” said Morrell. “We’re the type of people that have 15-25 percent pulled out of our paycheck every month that doesn’t go into our regular checking account. Now, I’ve actually had to start pulling that back and pulling some money out of savings to make sure I can cover bills every month.”

Brown says there are some ways we can try and reduce additional heat in our homes.

“Run your appliances hopefully at night or in the early morning when it’s the coolest,” said Brown. “I mean I think it’s still close to 80 degrees at night so it’s not exactly cool but when you run appliances like your washing machine, your dishwasher, they add heat and humidity to your home.”

With more hot temperatures on the way, Brown says we have to keep in mind how much pressure we’re putting on our AC, sometimes asking it to cool our homes to 30 degrees less than outside temperatures.

Bass says we’re in this together, but hopefully not for long.

“Everyone in the state is going through this,” said Bass. “We just have to weather the storm. Luckily, this is temporary. It’s not the new norm. It’s just how temporary. That’s the key. We’ll just have to wait and find out.”

Between BTU and Vault Electricity, they hope the high utility bills will subside after we make it through these hot summer temperatures.