The cooler weather we've been experiencing in North Alabama has many people in Madison County noticing a spike in their utility bill.
People on social media voiced their concerns with some saying their bill increased more than $300 since the month before.
WAAY 31 talked to Huntsville Utilities on Tuesday about what they suggest you do to keep your bill from skyrocketing.
"It was about $100 more than it has been for the last 6 months, but compared to last December, because we did look back on that just to see, it's like $60 more, and this December felt like it was about the same," Amy Ashburn-Forest, who lives in Hazel Green, said.
People in the northern part of Madison County said they have questions as to why their utility bills are becoming so much more expensive.
"One lady said hers went from $175 to $520. Like, that's a little bit of a jump there," Jeffrey Stoner, who lives in Madison County, said.
Huntsville Utilities' spokesman, Joe Gehrdes, said the low temperatures are to blame. He said the demand for electricity is up all over the Tennessee Valley.
"As customers react to the weather, particularly with their air conditioning, their heating, you're using more utilities to make up for how cold it might be outside," Gehrdes said.
Gehrdes explained two numbers on your bill can help explain why your utility bill might have gone up.
"There's a thing on your bill called 'degree days.' That number just tells you what our departure from the average temperature is. When those numbers are high, that total number is high. That means we've been dealing with extreme weather, extreme temperatures from our average," he said.
Gehrdes explained if you keep the temperature in your house closer to 68 degrees, you will see less of an impact on your bill. But, if you're keeping your temperature closer to 75 with these cold temperatures, you can expect your bill to be expensive.
Gehrdes said heat pumps are a big driving factor that also could be driving your bill up.
"Heat pumps don't function very well in the very cold weather. And so often times, what will drive a utility bill up remarkably is when your auxiliary heat or your emergency heat kicks on, so that's electric heat. And that's very expensive. It's sometimes more than 5 to 10 times more expensive than your heat pump when it's running efficiently," he said.
Recently, Ashburn-Forest's home and Stoner's home both got smart meters, and they questioned if the meters were causing the increased rate.
"It's not just in our neighborhood. It's something in our area that people want to know why their bill is over $100 more than they normally have been," said Ashburn-Forest.
Gehrdes said "I know there have been some questions about the new meters. The new meters actually help customers be able to see how they're using electricity more closely. Rather than on a monthly basis, they can get hourly data. And you'll see how on a cold day like this, your usage is sustained higher."
Ashburn-Forest said she still has questions.
"It makes you wonder, if they're saying the new meters are more accurate, then who wasn't doing their job previously?" she said.
Huntsville Utilities said any customers who have questions about their bills are asked to contact them.