Reliant Energy: Customers can expect higher electric bills during winter months

Posted at 4:32 PM, Dec 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-27 13:33:12-05

COPPERAS COVE, Texas — Sharon Pasowicz has been staying in a Copperas Cove rental for a few months as her home get repaired from a recent fire. She said her old electric bill was always pretty steady, but not anymore.

"My bill would average $120-130 per month, but my house is 1,500 square feet," she said. "This is maybe a third of the size of my house."

Her bill for last month was about $70, but this month its nearly $100 more.

"I called and asked them why my bill was so high," Pasowicz said. "Why did my usage quadruple?"

Reliant Energy told her the price was due to an increase in usage. They said she paid for 292 kilowatts on November's bill, but more than 850 kilowatts for December's.

"I told them I said that's impossible," Pasowicz told 25 News. "I said I come in and everything's off, I don't use anything."

Reliant Energy declined an interview, but also told 25 News her bill was higher because of the usage.

They said more people may also notice an increase in their bills during these winter months due the amount of energy it's taking to keep your home warm. They said customers are often shocked when winter bills start coming in, "as many don't expect their electricity use to increase following the heat of summer".

"I'm frustrated. I get upset, I get mad," Pasowicz said of the experience. "I'm running against a brick wall."

She said she still doesn't understand why her bill increased so much and being on a fixed income, it's really putting a strain on her finances.

"I'm paying rent here, I got to pay my mortgage there. I mean, what am I supposed to do? Now I've got this almost $200 electric bill that shouldn't be."

Reliant Energy did provide some tips to keep your electric bill down during the winter, including turning your heat down to 68 degrees when you're home. They say your bill can show a 3% to 5% increase for each degree above that. You can turn it even lower if you're planning any holiday travel.

It's also recommended to open your blinds during the day to allow the sun to warm your home, then closing them again at night. You can close your chimney, or any other way cold air might be getting in and turn your fan to rotate counterclockwise.