Bitterly cold winter impacting people's energy bills

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The bitter cold we've seen this winter has affected people's energy bills!

With the wicked cold we've had so far this winter, natural gas usage has been crazy high!

Earlier this month, We Energies says it set records for single-day natural gas usage. That was during the first "polar vortex" we saw.

We Energies issued the following numbers to FOX6 News:

While the average residential customer paid about $30 more for winter heating in December than December 2012, the average residential customer:

    We Energies officials say there are some ways to help keep monthly costs down and avoid the sticker shock of the winter bills.

    "If people aren't using it already, they may want to consider budget billing. It's a way to manage your bill and to avoid some of those spikes in the winter months. It takes your energy usage over that whole year and it splits it up more evenly. So you can rely on a fixed amount every month," Cathy Schulze said.

    There are other ways to keep the costs down. For example -- wearing some layers while inside, keeping the shades open during the daytime, and turning down the thermostat a few degrees.