After a stretch of frigidly cold weather, hundreds of you have commented on the WBIR Facebook page with similar stories: you set your thermostat low, but your utility bill was much higher than expected.
KUB said the price increases are because of increased use. Since we've had a much colder winter this year than last year, peoples' heating units have been working a lot harder.
Many people still wanted more information, so we took your questions to KUB, a heating repair service and the National Weather Service to find out how the cold weather spikes your bills.
KUB stressed it does not raise rates for time of use. It said the high bills are because of recent cold temperatures--some in the single digits. The utility said those cold temperatures force your heating system to work harder.
10News asked heating repair workers at HEP Services how that exactly works.
"As the temperature drops below 30 to 35 degrees with a heat pump, it will work harder, because it's harder for it to pull warmth out of the air to create warmth in the house," Will Cremeans with HEP said.
Cremeans said that causes the auxiliary heat to go on, which takes up far more energy.
"Typically your compressor itself is going to draw about anywhere from 8 to 20 amps, depending on the age of the system, the size of the system," Cremeans said. "Where your auxiliary heat on the other hand is pulling on average 40 to 60 amps. So it's a huge swing."
KUB said that's clear in its data. KUB spokesperson Stephanie Midgett said you can see when the average temperatures were lower, usage spiked. On Jan. 17, for instance, the high temperature was 27 degrees and the low was 8 degrees. Midgett said KUB's gas sales reached a record high that day. Other days that compare in gas sales are from the winter of 2015.
According to the National Weather Service, this January so far ranks as the second coldest since 1980 with an average temperature of 30.5 degrees. A spokesperson for the service said what's unusual about this winter is how long the cold spikes have lasted.
Midgett said high bills also depend on a customer's billing cycle. She said some customers could see billing from one or two cold spikes we've seen.
Midgett said electric bills are up more than 30 percent and gas bills are up more than 60 percent compared to December and January last year.
"Even if you didn't turn up your thermostat, even if you turned it down, even if you're following all of our energy savings tips and maybe weren't home a lot over the holidays, just because we had that cold air outside, it was extremely cold, it made your HVAC system work harder, your bill still went up," Midgett said.
Midgett said KUB's rates have also increased over the last few decades like they have with other utilities across the country, but KUB's rates are still below the national average.