We Energies rate increase; heating, budget concerns arise
MILWAUKEE - The recent We Energies rate increase has some people keeping their heat low, but the power company said that could be dangerous during this cold snap.
We Energies said the increase in the cost of natural gas is something it can't control, but it can offer energy assistance plans and tips – like turning your thermostat down at night.
"We don’t want to see these high natural gas prices either, we know it’s a burden for our customers," said Alison Trouy, We Energies spokesperson.
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Customers who received higher-than-expected monthly bills reached out to FOX6 News. Ladi Ananna said her bill is through the roof – more than double what she's used to paying – and she will take any help she can get.
"My bill is a little more concerning," Ananna said. "My highest so far is…this new bill is $247."
With the increase, Ananna said the sticker shock is adding up. With the cold temperatures, she is even more concerned.
"It made me feel concerned I’m going to have to come up with a strategic way of getting this bill paid," she said. "If I’m not here at all, I will just keep it off because I don’t know how long I will be gone."
Trouy suggests another method: bundling up before turning down.
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"When you leave the house, when you go to bed at night, just lowering it a few degrees can make a big difference," she said.
"I try to be smart and think about my usage," said Ananna.
Trouy said the good news is, for most of January, Wisconsin saw mild temperatures. She said it might provide a bit of relief with customers' bills next month.
We Energies tips
- Prevent carbon monoxide dangers: Make sure carbon monoxide detectors are working properly and learn the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Oven safety: Never use a stove or oven to heat your home. Not only is it inefficient, it could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Keep your meters clear: Safely brush away snow and ice from your home’s natural gas meter and vents. The extra weight can stress or crack meter piping, causing a natural gas leak. It also can clog appliance vents, trapping carbon monoxide indoors.
- Space heater safety: Only use newer models with safety features like automatic shut-off. Keep space heaters at least 6 feet away from flammable materials like drapes or blankets. Plug heaters directly into the wall, not into extension cords or power strips. Place the heater on a flat surface away from children and pets.
- Safe sleeping: Turn off electric blankets when they are not being used. Keep pets away from electric blankets, as their teeth and claws can puncture wire insulation and cause damage.
- Let the sun in: Open curtains or blinds when the sun is out to help warm your home. Close them at night to help retain heat and cut down on drafts.
- Heat your home efficiently: A few simple steps — such as sealing gaps around windows and doors, adjusting your thermostat and changing furnace filters — can keep homes cozy and energy bills down. Check out tips to manage your costs.
- Energy assistance: We Energies offers numerous resources for customers — including budget billing, payment plans and heating assistance.