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BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — If you want to keep your house warm during the long, cold winter, you have to pay up. Recently we have received phone calls from viewers who say their power bill for December doubled and in some cases tripled.

Both Four-County EMC and Progress Energy say that nothing unusual is going on in their billing departments. Both companies say complaints about high power bills are very common this time of year. They say a lot of things can contribute to those bills jumping significantly from one month to the next.

Four-County EMC says the short answer to what is causing these enormous bills can be the weather and the number of days customers are being billed for.

“Two things that have affected the light bills this winter,” spokesman Chris Ingram said.”One has been the cold weather. It’s the coldest recorded December. The other thing that gets us in December is the holidays. A lot of times our billing periods which are 28 to 30 days goes to 32- to 34-day billing periods.”

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  • Guest

    I thought the same thing but I asked and it’s all electronic now. The people from Progress Energy come out in their vehicle and have a scanner that reads your meter. They simply drive down your street and scan.


  • John Miner

    I have read the statements given by Progress Energy Carolinas and i find them to be highly unlikely considering the fact that today Saturday, February 5, 2011 and according to PEC my last meter reading was on Thursday, February 3, 2011 and I was home on that date and no one came here to read the meter. I know i was home because my son was born on Monday and came home on Wednesday and we did not leave the house on thursday, plus i have my gates to the back yard locked and i have dogs. I have not seen a meter reader in almost a year.

    Progress Energy is guestimating our bills based on their perceived averages for this time of year. They need to be investigated.

  • My light bill went from 262 to 487. There has to be funny business going on somewhere. We were not even here for a good part of the month!

  • Guest7969

    if you weren’t home…that’s irrelevant…if you had your thermostat on 72…your HVAC was running constantly.

    Might want to check and make sure your heat strips aren’t coming on….when they aren’t supposed to…that alone could DOUBLE your bill.

  • GuestLee

    At $200, my electric bill was the highest I have ever had since I moved in my house over 30 years ago. After seeing yours, I’m thinking I got off lucky. The thing is, I turned the thermostat down 4 degrees to compensate for the colder weather to try to keep my bill low. All I had during Christmas was the Christmas tree lights (no exterior lights). So I froze and I still have to pay a high electric bill. Consumers can’t win!

  • Guest4cty

    I wish i still had progress energy. Four county rates are about 15% higher and the service is worse. whatever your bill was add about 15% and that is what it would have been if you were with 4 county

  • KrisC

    I haven’t changed a thing except I put up a Christmas tree and a string of lights outside. I live alone. What is going on? I guess nobody will investigate. They just blow it off and get to do what they want? Did the utilities commission okay a ten-fold rate hike? I can’t afford this.

  • Guest7969

    IF you didn’t change a thing…then it would make sense your bill went up. Your HVAC was working double time trying to hold the same temperature…

  • MaryS

    I have heard way too many comments to think the high bills are a coincidence. I pulled out my bill from last year for the same billing period and saw that my KWH usage per day more than doubled this year–and we were out of town for five days over the billing period, with the water heater turned off,and the heat down on the lowest setting. We were not out of town last year during the same period.

    However, I went to the Weather Station history and put in 12/15/2009, and the average temperature for that month was 45.9 degrees. For this past December 15, 2010, the average temperature for the month was 15.0 degrees. Guess the heat pumps had to work a lot harder.

    Still, my husband and I are wondering about the pending sale of Progress Energy to Duke Energy.

    Makes the sales price higher if receivables are bigger!

  • SurfCityTom

    go outside and read their meter at all to determine if the reading was correct? Did they consider school was out for 10 to 14 days for Christmas? CHildren in and out of the door can send that meter twirling. Did they consider the unseasonable weather during December? Did they look at the bill and see at least one of them was one month behind?

    Or do they expect the power company to provide free service during the Holidays?

  • Joseph Holland

    Ok Mr. SurfcityTom, why do you have to be so sarcastic? If you think the Progress Energy doesn’t make mistakes on your bill then you are a fool. I just a credit to my account for 353$ last month. They said there was a mistake in the system and they were glad I brought it to their attention. They also said they probably would never have caught the mistake. So it can and does happen all the time. You probably have been overcharged at some point, but you most likely don’t care because trust everyone to do what their supposed to do. Wake up Tom.

  • Just read your comment and couldn’t help but shake my head! You always sound so self righteous. As I said before, I was gone for most of the month. (No kids running in and out!) My light bill went up ridiculously. Heat was set at 60. No Christmas lights or tree. No, I don’t expect free power but I don’t beleive my bill should have went up so much. Tom–not everyone is looking for a free ride. I have read many of your comments that you make and sometimes I wonder if you say stuff to try to impress yourself! You sould like a lonely old man or something!

  • Guesthaha

    Did anyone notice the IMMEDIATE DISCONNECT notice on the bill? She is already at least month in rears of payment. The total bill is probably 2 or 3 months combined and they are to dim to read it properly…. geeez

    These are the type of people who call the TV networks. I guarantee you they want some sap to pay their bills for them.

    You others one here need to get your bills checked and your meter checked, power companies do it everyday, its their job. Perhaps you have an electrical issue they can pin point.

    PE have meters that are read electronically, not sure if its from the office or the street.

  • coldy

    If you have a heat pump, your bill is usually going to go up more then you would think in the winter, if it kicks into the AUX heat mode. If you set your thermostat down to 66 when you leave your house, then kick it up to 70 when you return, and your AUX heat comes on, you are using way more energy then if it is just the regular heat. When it’s in the low 20’s outside or below, a heat pump isn’t really designed for that type of cold, so it kicks into the AUX heat more often then, as well.

    If you’ve never paid attention to your thermostat and noticed when the AUX heat comes on, you may want to from now on. It sucks up way more energy and increases your electric bill tremendously.

  • Das Weibstück

    We have a 1800+ square foot farm house built in the 40’s. There is no insulation to speak of in the walls, none under the floor (sits on slab but floor is 6 inches from concrete), the insulation in the attic needs to be updated, we have 20 year old wood single pane windows with storm windows………. all that being considered we have NEVER had a bill over 200.00 even with the record cold of the last 2 years. We had a 13 SEER new heat pump installed 3 years ago which is sized for a 2000 square foot house. We set it on 70 in the summer and 68 in the winter (back to 66 at night). Even though it has been running a lot this winter the bill still isnt over 200.00.

    Heat pumps are not good for very cold weather they cant keep up and run on emergency heat quite a bit (which is when the heat coils come on), that really runs up your bill. Ours only does that when I jack it up more than 3 degrees manually. Otherwise our newer more efficient system has been doing pretty well. If yours is old or rated under 12-13 SEER you will get higher bills. Its been cold.. what do you expect?

    If you have baseboard heaters you are going to have a whooper of a bill.

  • doodle

    You know why you have 4 county? Cause PE wont put the cash out to run thousands of miles of power lines in rural areas. 4 County has a huge area to cover with way fewer people per square mile than PE does. They have to buy their power from PE plus bear the burden of installing the lines and running the equipment to run your lights. They are a co-op. A not-for-profit electric Cooperative with about 30,000 customers. They also supply internet service to rural places Time Warner wont touch.

    PE has 3.1 million customers here and in Florida. PE is a Fortune 500 energy company……. How much profit do you thin PE is making from the 10 BILLION they pull in each year?

  • Guest4654

    i too have four county and their rates are much higher than pe. i have a rental property in wilmington and the tenants showed me on of their bills and it was under 100.00 for about 1000kw while it was over 125.00 for me with 4cty. not to mention that about every other week 4cty power fails and i have to reset all my clocks in the house and also reset the television. a frend has 4cty too and it fried his washer when the power failed for a second last month. about 8 months ago i was home when they read the meter and a guy who was reading the meter was driving a large boom truch to read the meter. that is a great use of resources driving a truck that gets 8 miles a gallon to read the meter. 4cty sucks

  • Guest228

    As soon as yall announced that we had the coldest record on December, the vultures swooped in..you gave PG a reason to hike up bills due to our unusual weather..I havent seen a meter man in my neighborhood for years! I do know for a fact that they estimate bills instead of actually reading meters..call PG and tell them that you want your meter read physically and they will come out to do it..

  • Guest461

    I suppose you happen to think the media are the only ones that have thermometers, right? And, so the power companies base their power consumption on a string of “media” weather reporting data, correct?

    Dead WRONG Einstein. Not even a decent conspiracy theory. Not even a half decent comic book story for the Fantastic Four to battle.

    The reason you don’t see meter readers anymore is because of technology, you know…that stuff they used to make your cell phone and the computer you used to write your post on here. All the reader has to do nowadays is ride by your house and receive the little wireless signal from your meter to his receiver…and BING-A-LING, there’s your usage!

    Now…if you look really close, you can watch the electrons leak out of your wall sockets when it gets cold. You can put those little plastic plug thingies made for infants in them to stop that.

  • Guestmom

    Get on an equal payment plan. Same bill every month.

  • SurfCityTom

    Where in my post did I state the power company can not make a mistake? Please show me that specific statement.

    I noted there are several things any consumer can and should do before they jump on the Power Company’s spine.

    I noted several seasonal circumstances which might have contributed to an increase in power useage during Christmas.

    And I noted one of the folks interviewed was already in arrears on her statement before the most recent bill was issued.

    So why not read my post before you issue some assinine comment that is so devoid of fact it’s clear you failed in your effort for a minute in the spotlight at SurfCityTom’s expense.

    You refer to my comments as sarcastic. Most thinking people would refer to them as the light of reality.

    Sometimes it’s better to remain silent and appear foolish than to speak and remove all doubt.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    I just received mine, and did a full comparison with last January.

    Temperatures: 1/10 Avg 51 degrees – 1/11 Avg 48 degrees

    Days in Billing Period: 1/10 34 Days – 1/11 34 Days

    Avg Daily kW usage: 1/10 82kW – 1/11 89 kW

    Avg Daily kWh Cost: 1/10 $7.63 – 1/11 $7.93

    Avg kWh rate: 1/10 .0933 – 1/11 .0893

    Total Due: 1/10 $271.30 – 1/11 $281.39

    Oh yeah, forgot a 4% increase….

    TAXES: 1/10 $7.90 – 1/11 $8.20

    So in other words, it looks like a non-event. It’s the December/January bill. It was colder than normal. The bill is quite ho-hum, if you ask me.

    I should mention that I added over $1600 of insulation when I bought the house many years ago and I keep my thermostat at 72 degrees. If it gets a little chilly on a cold night, I put on a sweater.

  • Guest

    You have problems with your system or no insulation in your house. How old is your system? have you had the freon checked lately? Is it a heatpump or electric heat? Sounds like electric heat to me. I have 2600ft2 W/10 seer and had thermostat set at 70 for the month. my bill was higher than normal but was still under 200$. normally it is $75-129/month. try the Time of Use plan from progress energy. I have saved 197 in the last 12 months.

  • Guest228

    You really think that PG dont watch the weather reports this time of the year..you got the media reporting December is the coldest month on record and you actually think PG didnt have a crunching numbers session and say “hey, we can use this to our advantage”..people arent on this blog with nonsense..pretty much everyone who posted, said their bill skyrocketed..not by 20 or 50 dollars but double or triple in some cases..unless you have a kerosene heater or heat your home with gas, then your bill went up too..all you do is come on this blog and try to find fault in consumers and side with idiots..

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    …replaced the Public Utilities Commission.

  • Guest

    i have been on four county lines for about 3 years now and i know afew people that work there. obviously everyone is going to complain if they have their heat on 75 or 80, they will be paying for a high bill…well what about the price of gas? i have to pay 300 dollars to get my tank filled up, but it keeps me warm. did anyone notice the woman in the video said she turned her heat off, but wrote on here she put it on 60? hmm… what about the capitol credit check 4cty gives in dec? what about the credit they gave out in the month of december also for every 1000 kwh used? no one priased them for that. people get what they want and beg or complain for what they need. people will complain about bills but have their nails/hair done, drive nice cars, have nice clothes….people have their priorities messed up in todays world. electricity is like a cell phone bill…you go over on your minutes wont you have to pay extra? put your heat up you will pay extra. no wonder EVERY december your bill gets higher…its the start of WINTER!!!! bet it goes back down when you dont use heat! some say they do nothing different to their theromostat or they dont even touch it. well what do you think is happening outside? if you have your temp set at 75 all year around during the fall or spring it will not effect your bill mainly because the temp outside will be 65-70ish…when its winter and the temp is 15-30 degrees outside dont you think it will run a lot more? people just need to use common sense before they start causing a big fuss about their own use of heat.

  • Guest

    gouge people and then have a guilty concious and send them back a rebate for overcharging people. Why not price things right the first time.

  • Guest

    i’ve had four county lines for about 3 years, did anyone praise them for the credit they gave out in dec? what about the capitol credits they give out every dec because they are for non profit. what about the price of gas? it costs 300.00 dollars to fill my gas tank up, but my power bill is around 120.00. which would you rather pay for? gas or electric. the main ones who complain about the power bill are the ones who have their nails/hair done, drive nice cars, and nice clothes; todays world has their priorites mixed up they get what they want and beg/complain about what they need. did anyone notice on the video the woman said she turned her thermostat off but wrote on here she set it back to 60? hmm someone got their story mixed up a little. your bill is going to jump up when the average temp outside is 30 degrees and you have your heat on 75 degress…youre heat pump isnt going to turn off! of course you arent going to pay a bill like this in the fall or spring…you dont need heat! wonder why your bill gets high every december? maybe thats because its the start of winter…it starts getting cold in december! maybe people should start using common sense before they start a big fuss on public tv.

  • SurfCityTom

    in a State SUV show up at your door, they have you for insurance fraud. They have the power to take you into custody; they can put the cuffs on you. Resist, they are licensed to pack and they do know how to shoot. They wear Red sport coats. They are fraud investigators from the Department of Insurance.

    I just said a lot more of relevance than you did in heaven knows how many paragraphs; the drugs must not be working.

  • Guest6969696969

    So Progress Energy doesn’t Have your best Interest’s at heart? Referring to high electric bills and/or Damage Claims.
    Dear WWAY…
    I submitted a “Damage claim” to Progress Energy for Damaged Computer Equipment, which happened on or about 12/15/2010.
    Now, First I need to remind you that I’m a Disabled person with Limited income, (SSA).
    I also have to take some fairly powerful Medications, to keep Pain in check as I was once a Commercial Fisherman & auto Mechanic, thus a very bad back, knee, foot, and being a One-Armed Amputee, I suffer from extreme Phantom pains… In addition to sever blood clotting problems with My blood, (think of the Late Capt. Phil Harris of Deadliest Catch, I’ve the same condition).
    I talked with a Claims agent, Locally, His name is xxxxxx, during the very first part of the conversation, I let Him know I was hurting and on Medication(s)…
    Speaking quickly back & forth, alot of Cash numbers were thrown around, as I gave Mr. xxxxxx the damaged components/model #’s, Which were a Computer and Monitor, and that on the computer I had upgrades, ie: a video card/Memory/and hard drives(2).
    He suggested that I have these additional parts tested to see if they were still working…
    Fast forward to 1/12/2011, remember, Mr. xxxxxx and I tossed a bunch of numbers back and forth, I being on Medications, (I’ll list them in a minute), I sincerly Thought, I was getting paid for My Monitor AND Computer, thus I received 2 checks in the mail made out to ME, with MY address on it….
    I cashed one, and Deposited the other.
    The one cashed was for 300.00 the other was for 464.81.
    The deposited check “cleared” My bank account.
    I also during the conversation with Mr. xxxxxx, that I had a Minute phone, that was out of minutes, and could be reached by a long Term Family friend, and gave Him Her number for contact. No; She and I DO NOT reside together.
    After the check had cleared on 1/12/2011, I conducted My business on replacing the Damaged Parts, then went to Holly Ridge on Wednesday to see My Brother, (to get oysters), and was out of touch with Angie xxxxxx Since Monday evening, and also My brother, whom DOES NOT have a phone.
    While in Holly ridge, I must have picked up some Ethanol gas, or water in gas, causing Me to have to replace the fuel pump,Water had somehow with our below freezing conditions “froze” the fuel pump up and it burned up?)& (My brother helped because of My condition), and got it repaired and and Made it back to Wilmington Late Friday evening.
    At which time, I was checking My on-line checking to see if My orders for the parts went through and checking My bank Balance….
    To My complete Surprise and a heart attack to boot, I found My account -536.00 in the RED…
    And Angie xxxxxx said i had a couple of Messages from Progress energy, but didn’t know what they were, in addition She is *blind* so I don’t really know what happened during My time “out of touch” with Her.
    Being a MLK Holiday, I couldn’t get with Mr McGuiness until Tuesday….
    When I did speak with Mr. xxxxxx, I had asked Him exactly what the problem was. At which time He informed Me what I done was un-ethical and Fraud, and hinted, I was going to be charged with such..

    Dear WWAY, I truly thought everything was on the up & up, and the 2 checks were for Damage claims I submitted…
    Then upon getting My computer halfway working, I find out that in fact the whole system was “fried” as I sent a e-mail telling Him so, that both hard drives/video card etc were in fact no good.
    On the drives, one was the OS of Vista, and a smaller drive for back-up, I informed Him in the e-mail that I had hundreds of pictures of My Mom whom died of cancer, and My Daughters graduation pictures, and information that was “priceless”, (My pictures), of My daughters and family… They cannot be recovered nor replaced.
    Though during the telephone conversation, He said SEVERAL times that I was fraudulent and un-ethical, (I had him on speaker phone so Angie xxxxx could hear)…
    I replied to him, either this was a mis-understanding on His or both our parts as He knew I was under Medications at the time…
    He Finally ADMITTED, YES it WAS HIS MISTAKE….. Though now I’m 500+ in the negative, not counting overdraft charges still to come, I will not be able to pay My bills… maybe even homeless after all is said and done… Again, (about the 5th time) He said and called Me a Fraud and un-ethical, for cashing these checks.
    I talked with My Local bank, (BOA), showed them the Medicines I take and told xxxxxxx, exactly the contents of the phone call, what had happened, etc. She looked at My bank account activities and knew I was telling the TRUTH.. In addition to getting Mr. xxxxxx Managers name & phone number…(In Raleigh)…..
    A BIG Thank you, goes to My local BOA, xxx & Her Manager, in at least waiving the overdraft charges.
    Now after playing phone & e-mail tag I finally spoke to Mr xxxxx, and He informs Me did I look at the check… The 464.61 wasn’t “mine”, if I had looked at it, it didn’t have My name & address or something, (he wouldn’t say what), that in fact He defended Mr. xxxxxxx on what the Man told Me, in other words, tried to say He didn’t SLANDER Me, I’ve got a witness that heard Him on the speaker phone, He DID. In addition, Mr. xxxxxx tried His dern best to *bait me* into get into a argument with Him over this whole affair..
    So thinking about this a second, I call My bank to see if they, in-fact got a copy of the checks, yes they do….
    I’ve got the copies in My hand, Made out to ME, no-one else. nor any other address….
    Both checks…
    As I’ve said before, in the internal conversation, I though one was for the Monitor, the other for the computer, (not counting the upgrades, i dunno), But in NO WAY am I “fraud” and I’m NOW dealing with Progress energies 2nd mistake, I’m NOT going to be able to pay Most of My bills, rent/car insurance/water/sewer trash/gasbill/gasbill etc…
    Not counting the extreme Stress, causing Me to feel like I’m having a heart attack over this matter.
    AND going with-out heat, and keeping My water/gas usage as little as possible, ie: inother words, I’ve been going with-out ANY heat since this has happened, don’t ask, it’s quite cold at night..
    Yes, I’m willing to share the e-mails I have and My bank records, showing that I purchased repair/replacement parts, AND the fuel pump…As I was out of touch with Angie xxxxxx..
    Also Share with you the copies of these checks. As I in no-way shape or form “committed fraud” or was unethical..
    Now that the fact Mr. xxxxx, slandered My name, Mr. xxxxx suggested I committed something wrong by cashing these checks.
    Honestly WWAY, I thought everything was ok, and on the up & up, only to get bent over, and then to find out that Mr xxxxxx ENDORSED these checks! Took the funds back, (stop payment), putting Me in a serious bind, (I’ve been here with NO Heat, and NOT using water, little as possible, also worrying about My car insurance being paid…)
    So WWAY, am I in the wrong?
    That I was unable to get messages?From Angie xxxxx,while out of town?
    That the insurance adjusters had My minute phone number, (no minutes), but had a alternate number and I couldn’t be reached because of problems with My car?
    BOTH checks were made out to ME AND My address.. For Damage claims.
    Am I in the wrong here?
    Or can you get Me help? and a pro-bono attorney that would take this case?
    Second thoughts, as I explained to xxxxxxxx, If I was intent of “committing fraud”, wouldn’t I go to a check cashing place or something like that to cash the checks? Instead of depositing (it) into My own bank account?
    If you wish, I’ll come down to your studio, show you the check copies, and bring the broken equipment, and a print-out of My checking account…
    I called Mr. xxxxxxx back,As He told Me the information on the checks were wrong, Impling a street addrees or name ,(I should-of looked at the check) that it wasn’t supposed to be “mine” or something like that, I them promptly went to My local bank, got copies of the check, finding out it was Him that endorsed the check,My name/address/everything is a-ok on it…HIS MISTAKE! He refused to answer My call, and I asked Him to change His “tune” as I now had copies of both checks, He has since not retirend My call…. As He LIED to Me making Me look like a bad guy, which I’m NOT..

    AND the Medicines I take every day…
    Norcal 10/325
    Avinza, (Morphine Sulfate) 30 micrograms
    Valium 5 Mg’s
    Blood thinner 7.5 mg


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