MEMPHIS, Tenn. — If the cost of living wasn’t bad enough, get ready to pay a lot more to keep your house cool.
Memphis Light, Gas and Water (MLGW) customers will pay more on their utility bills this summer.
MLGW says your utility bill could go up by as much as 40 percent. That’s about $60 a month for the average customer.
MLGW blames rising fuel prices and increased electricity use in the summer for the increase.
“My bill normally is about $250. But this month, it’s $504,” Gregory Thomas said.
Thomas told FOX13 he felt shocked and confused when he opened his MLGW bill this month.
“I was wondering did they actually make a mistake,” he said.
Thomas’ utility bill was more than double what he says he normally pays, and he is not alone.
“Last month, it was a little over $600 for a two-bedroom, one-bathroom small house,” Sophie Thomas said.
The higher prices have customers finding other ways to cut back.
“I might need to find a roommate or something,” Thomas said.
Just like the price of gasoline, MLGW said the fuel to generate electricity has also gone up in price. That, coupled with soaring temperatures, means it will cost a lot more to keep your A/C running.
“A typical summertime bill might be, say, $160 or so, and that might drive up the cost $20, $30 or $40, depending on what steps customers take to conserve,” MLGW’s senior VP Dana Jeanes said.
So what can you do to save money?
Jeanes says bumping up the thermostat a few degrees to 78 can help.
“Cover windows. If you have shades for those, pull down to protect the interior of a home, house from direct sunlight and a heating effect,” Jeanes said.
Jeanes said turning off lights and appliances when you’re not using them and making sure your air filters are clean can also help.
Thomas said he’s doing what he can to save a buck.
“We keep it on like 85 most of the time. Sometimes, a little lower than that,” he said.
Compared to last year, there will be an increase over the entire summer.
Customers may experience average hikes of 20% to 40% between June and September, depending on use, MLGW said.
This translates to estimated bill impacts of between $30 to $60 per month.
While customers cannot control the market, they can save energy to save money.
The majority of summer expenses are related to air conditioning, MLGW said.
MLGW offers payment plans for people who are struggling to pay their bills.
CLICK HERE to find more energy conservation tips.
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