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Doubled up: High electric bills hit San Antonio customers' wallets

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"It's ridiculous."

Gary Hutcherson is hot, and it isn’t from his home’s heater: It is the January electric bill from CPS Energy that has him fired up and visiting his local CPS Energy customer service center.

"Our light bill was too high for us!" exclaimed Hutcherson. “Our light bill was $600, and we don’t have the money like that."

Hutcherson and his wife Christy Warren say they the bill came as a surprise. Originally from Arkansas, they moved to San Antonio last year and said they were surprised at the energy costs.

Albert Cantu, spokesperson for CPS Energy, said the customer service line has been busy with calls from customers with similar complaints that their latest utility bills have more than doubled.

"A lot of customers are accustomed to high bills happening in the summer time,” said Cantu. “It’s very rare that you see that here during the winter time."

CPS Energy blames colder-than-usual temperatures for the higher-than-average bills.

A mega-watt of power usually powers 600-homes on a wintry day. CPS Energy set a winter-peak-record on January 3, 2018, using 4,316 megawatts of power.

A few weeks later, the ice and sleet storm that closed San Antonio schools and businesses on January 16 created another day of record consumption: the state's power grid hit a winter record the following morning between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. by using 65,731 megawatts.

Cantu said customers may not realize how large appliances like heating and air conditioning systems gobble up power.

"Your heating system makes up 60 percent of your energy bill," said Cantu.

CPS Energy is calling on customers to conserve energy when they can, as the utility makes arrangements with those who need help paying their bills. It's something Hutcherson and his wife are now doing.

"We made payment arrangements,” said Warren.

“Yes,” added Hutcherson. “We made payment arrangements and we're going to get it down!"

If you are a CPS Energy customer in need of help with your electric bill, call (210) 353-2222 or visit www.cpsenergy.com.

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