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"Sticker Shock" From High Power Bills

Every winter power bills surge, putting many households in a tight squeeze. One look at the bill, leaves some feeling hopeless.

Phones lit up at Eblen Charities in West Asheville, where folks in need lined up to get heating assistance.

Mari White has four kids, and lost her job recently. Her family's electric bill spiked a couple of hundred dollars this month.

"It's very stressful, very overwhelming because if you don't get it paid it's gonna get cut off," says White.       

It's common "sticker shock" this time of year.
"How am I gonna pay it?" says Sandra Lanning. She says her bill is about forty dollars more than last month's.

"I'm out of money there's no budget for it," she says about the extra forty bucks. "I mean it's a week's groceries. "

Last Tuesday was a record winter day for Duke Energy in terms of power usage. Now, some wonder how they'll foot the bill.
Financial counseling organization "OnTrack" says the seasonal surge has many taking inventory of their costs. Executive director Celeste Collins suggests checking your power company's web site.

"They can give you an analysis of how much your energy is costing and many offer the equal pay plan so that's a way to regulate your expenses," Collins advises. "Winter is a tough time for people post-holiday time with the bills coming from the spending in December, property taxes. And utility bills can be pretty brutal."   

"OnTrack" will host an Energy Efficiency class that could save you up to 100 dollars a month. To participate, you must be pre-registered.

That's February 6th from 5:30-6:30pm. Contact OnTrack Financial Education & Counseling at 828-255-5166 ext 3.


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