Freezing temperatures are expected in the Tennessee Valley Tuesday night. WAAY 31 wanted to know what you can do to keep your electricity usage down, and not put stress on the system.
Phillip Ager, who lives in Huntsville, said it's his first winter here, and his family's utility bill is more than they expected.
"$400. We are floored. We are flabbergasted things have gone so high so quickly," he said.
With the temperatures dropping even lower this week, many people are concerned about how much energy they're using.
"Many people in the valley use heat pumps to heat their homes, and those heat pumps use emergency heat. That's a big demand on the system," Joe Gehrdes with Huntsville Utilities said.
Huntsville Utilities said your heat pump, which transfers heat from a colder area to a warmer area, will cause your emergency heat to turn on. The emergency heat can use more than 10 times as much energy than when it's not cold.
"We're not pushing the buttons up. We're trying to push the buttons down," said Ager.
It might come as a surprise, but Huntsville Utilities recommends leaving your unit alone instead of actually turning the heat down. It also suggested making sure to keep doors shut and lights turned off when they're not needed.
"Set it where you're comfortable and leave it alone. What you don't want to do is work against it," Gerdes said.
Gehrdes explained if everyone works to keep their consumption down, it will put less stress on the system which in turn will hopefully prevent outages.
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