Power bills in the region rise due to ‘extreme and sustained cold temperatures’

Posted at 12:28 AM, Mar 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-24 00:28:36-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmonders are feeling the impact of this winter’s extreme temperatures. Loretta McCray says her power bill started increasing in November and peaked in February at her one-story Chesterfield home.

“It was $200….now the latest one was $305,” McCray said.

Dominion Virginia Power says the extreme and sustained cold temperatures this winter caused the average customer’s KWH usage to significantly increase. Dominion also says February was the fourth coldest in Dominion’s history.

Daisy Pridgen, a spokesperson for Dominion Virginia Power, says the company is receiving several calls from concerned customers. Pridgen argues that rates haven’t increased, but that customers are simply using more energy.

“Take February for example,” Pridgen says. “There were several days that schools were out, so when schools are out, that meant parents stayed home with the kids. What happens when everyone is home? They use more electricity.”

McCray says that logic doesn't apply to her family. She says her Chesterfield home, which is a second home for the family, has been vacant for two years.

McCray says she and her husband have unplugged most appliances and keep the thermostat at 72 degrees. She says despite her conservation efforts, her small home has generated high bills. She says Dominion has not been able to address her concerns.

“I did call them and said, I did what you said a month ago…the electric bill is still getting higher,” McCray said.

Dominion is encouraging customers, who believe there’s an error in their power bill, to contact customer service. The company says budget billing can also be established so customers pay a set amount each month.

Several Powhatan residents contacted CBS 6 in early March about the excessive bills they were also receiving from Southside Electric Cooperative. The Power company says weather was the biggest factor in customer usage.

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