AUSTIN (KXAN) - KXAN first reported Feb. 13 about concerns from Austin Energy customers. Since then, our newsroom received emails from several others saying their most recent bill was abnormally high.
Rose Berkowitz was one of the first to email KXAN asking questions about her Austin Energy bill. Her bill for Dec. 20, 2012 through Jan. 24, 2013 was two and half times higher that any she'd received in the past. Soon after seeing her story, dozens more reached out to KXAN.
The phones at Austin Energy have been ringing, too.
"Customers are calling in and saying, 'My bill is higher than I think it should be, so something must be wrong,'" said Austin Energy spokesman Ed Clark.
The utility company tells us the spike in bills is due to usage. They say customers don't realize how much electricity they're using.
But customers say they don't understand how their consumption over the past month or so could be two to three times more, as their bills reflect, than ever before.
Austin Energy stands by its meter readings.
"The meters are accurate. We go out and we check them. We are satisfied and this is the best technology ever for meters," Clark said.
Austin Energy points to weather as the reason for the spike.
"We're just forgetting -- all of us -- because it's been 70s, mixed with lows, for some short period. We're forgetting that we used that much electricity," said Clark.
The KXAN weather team found the average temperature for the billing period from Dec. 20 to Jan. 24 of this year was 50.6 degrees. During the same time period last year it was 53.8 degrees.
While the weather was slightly cooler, our weather team says going back two and three years, temperatures for the December to January billing period were colder than this year. Austin Energy officials says they don't recall such spikes in bills those years.
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