Many power customers in Alabama are experiencing high power bills, some more than doubling in January.

While multiple power companies claim no rate increases and the high bills are due to cold weather in January, those customers are struggling to pay the extreme increases.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), many parts of Alabama hit record lows in January. On average, the month was one of the coldest on record, with daytime highs in the mid-50s.

Damien Rudolph, who lives in a condo in Daphne, told 1819 News that his bill increased over the past three months. But when he got his bill for January, he was shocked. He said his bill just doesn’t add up, and it’s hard to believe that cold weather would cause his bill to double.

“I noticed a few months ago the bill gradually going up by about $30,” Rudolph said. “But then it went up to $209 and now it’s $409 that’s due tomorrow.”

Rudolph said in an already difficult time, the bill increase is stretching his wallet to the limit.

“The power bill situation makes everything a lot worse,” he said. “Groceries are already expensive. So, buying groceries now is kind of like, slim to none. I don’t really buy groceries, so my house is bare. I just can’t buy groceries anymore.”

To make up the difference, Rudolph said he would try to work more and work harder.

His power company, Riviera Utilities, told him the increase was due to the cold weather.

Riviera Utilities is part of the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority (AMEA), which distributes power to Riviera Utilities from Alabama Power. The Riviera Board negotiates its wholesale rate with the power company, and the Alabama Public Service Commission does not regulate that rate.

Other power companies have similar agreements through AMEA.

Alabama Power says increased bills are often seen after extreme weather events. The company suggests keeping your thermostat at 69 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer to reduce the utility bills. However, in the most extreme temperatures, representatives from Baldwin EMC in Baldwin County told 1819 News there is no way to avoid high energy costs.

Power companies offer payment plans for those struggling to pay higher bills. Contact your provider to learn more.

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