There's a reason your Duke Energy bills have been higher than they were a year ago

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - FOX19 NOW viewers have been taking to Twitter to complain about sky-high Duke Energy bills. One viewer claims bills are double what they typically are.

Duke Energy spokeswoman Sally Thelen said they are getting calls from customers upset about higher than normal energy bills. She says the reason for those higher bills is higher energy usage during that bitterly cold weather.

But Thelen says most customers aren't seeing bills that are double the normal amount -- Duke data shows customers' natural gas usage from the period of Dec. 15 to Jan. 15 was about 31 percent higher than a year ago.

Depending on your billing cycle and usage, that could mean higher bills for January, February or both.

Thelen suggests customers turn their thermostats to the lowest comfortable setting during a cold snap. She also says Duke's budget billing program could help make those bills more predictable.

And if you've got a smart meter, it's easy to keep an eye on your usage so you aren't surprised by a bigger bill.

If there's just no way you can pay your bill, Duke does offer a program called "Heat Share," in conjunction with the Salvation Army. It does provide one-time assistance if you qualify. Click or tap here to learn more.

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