Pinnacle, NC -- Several people contacted WFMY News 2, asking why their Duke Energy bills skyrocketed last month.
People from Greensboro to Walkertown to Pinnacle, in Stokes County, are heated. They said their bills jumped from November to December and they didn't use that much energy.
"Everybody is very upset in my neighborhood," said Linda Bateman, of Pinnacle. Bateman said her bill is usually no more than $70 during the winter. Her most recent bill was $142.
"I do not use a lot of power. I'm not home during the day because I work and at night I don't turn it up a lot because I just don't want to use the power," she said.
Bateman's neighbor Carolyn Brandon said, "The light bill was $102 the month before and it was $159 and we didn't do anything different, didn't even have Christmas lights."
The neighbors said they've never had bills this high before, and haven't been given an explanation.
"We have Duke Power, we don't have a choice like AT&T or Verizon. We can't switch. If they want to shoot our power bill up to $300, what can we do? We either have to pay the bill or do without. We don't have a choice," said Brandon.
A Duke Energy spokesperson said the weather is a driving factor of bills increasing. She said Duke did not implement any rate increases between November and December, and everyone is paying the same rate across the board.
These neighbors said something isn't right. "When you don't use any extra than you have been doing in the last year or two years, it shouldn't be up that much," said Bateman.
The Duke spokesperson said customers saw an average increase of 30% to 50% on their last bill. You can expect a higher bill next month, after the new rate increase goes into effect. That will result in an average 3.8% increase per bill.
Duke Energy has a tool to help you try to cut back on your bill. If you go to www.dukeenergy.com and search for thermostat calculator, the online tool helps you calculate ways to cut back on costs by adjusting the thermostat a few degrees.
Duke Energy says on average, Duke customers who have a mix of gas and electric, used 1041 kwh in December compared to 750 in November.
Duke customers who use all electric used an average 900 kwh in November compared to 1400 in December.
To find out more about the temperature difference and how it could make your heater work harder click on the video link on the right.