LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - According to Xcel Energy, heating costs are up 34% percent from last year, and 15% from average. And if you're struggling to pay, there are resources.
"They shouldn't panic but if they can't pay them they should call us," said Mike Herro, Xcel Energy Community Service Manager. "So what we don't want to have happen is they start falling behind and in a few weeks here we would have the right to disconnect if a customer just cannot pay their bills. So that's what we want to avoid."
One option is to sign up for a payment plan so you can slowly chip away at a high bill.
Another option is to get on a budget billing plan. This estimates your average monthly costs for an entire year and you pay of a portion of that each month.
"In April and May when bills would normally be lower you might be paying more but you pay that same amount throughout the summer and throughout the winter," said Herro. "You don't have to come up with hundreds of more dollars in certain times of the year."
Herro also said it's never too late to start conserving energy.
"Avoiding drafts in your house," said Herro, "try not to open the door so much, open the shades when the sun is out so you can get that solar heat in your house, change your furnace filters."
Herro said there are two main reasons for the higher energy costs. The first is because it's been so cold this winter and people have been using more gas to stay warm. And the second reason is an increase in the price of natural gas itself.
Some people may also qualify for state heating assistance programs.
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