AUSTIN (KXAN) - People living at a northwest Austin apartment complex are seeing a huge jump in their electric bills, but aren't sure why.
KXAN received reports from people living in Great Hills Apartments near MoPac and Research Boulevard, saying their most recent electric bills were abnormally high.
Tenants say the most recent bill they received from Austin Energy was two times--if not or more than--the other recent billing cycles.
Rose Berkowitz lives on her own in a two bedroom apartment, but says the bill she just got from Austin Energy would make you think differently.
Her bill for the period of December 20, 2012 to January 24, 2013 is $238.44. That's more than two and half times her payment due for the previous billing cycle, which was $102.82.
"How could I possibly have used that much energy?" Berkowitz wondered.
She decided to take a look at electric bills from the past year or so. This same time last year, her bill was remarkably less.
"From December 20 through January 23 of last year--the bill was $97.89," Berkowitz said. Most bills are under $100.
Berkowitz says she knows rates went up slightly in October, and she keeps an eye on her energy usage.
She's not alone. We checked with other tenants at the apartment complex, and they told us the same story.
Austin Energy spokesperson Ed Clark says they've gotten calls from customers concerned about big jumps in their bills. He says weather is the main consideration.
"In most cases, we're seeing escalated bills in those cold periods--in December and January. People really just don't remember that they used that much heat," said Clark.
But Berkowitz and others who are looking at bills two and half times bigger than ever before are trying to make sense of that.
"I can understand it being more in the winter, because I have electric heat, but not like this," Berkowitz said.
One woman told KXAN she was gone for three weeks during the last billing cycle and had her heat and electronics turned off. Her bill was two times more than the month before.
KXAN looked into what you can do if you think your bill is wrong.
First, call the customer service center and go over the bill. That number is 494-9400. The customer service representatives can go over every day of electric usage with you. If it still doesn't make sense after you look at everything, have them come out and check your meter.
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