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Winter Bill Help

Extremely cold, winter weather can send your furnace into overtime — causing your energy usage and electric bill to go up. That's especially the case if you heat your home with electric, even if your thermostat setting remains the same. We know it's difficult when your amount due is more than you're expecting. We have ways to help, and want to make sure you're aware of them.

Please contact our Customer Solutions Center at 800.672.2231. Here's how we could help:

  • Enroll you in AMP (Average Monthly Payment) Plan. AMP evens out payments throughout the year to account for seasonal spikes in usage. Bills adjust on a 12-month rolling average and change only slightly each month, making bills more predictable. More information is also available here.
  • Set up a payment plan. In cases where bill payments have fallen behind, it may make sense to consider setting up a payment arrangement. Phone representatives can describe specifics based on each situation.
  • Learn how AEP Ohio partners with government agencies and non-profits to help low income households with utility bills. Ohio PIPP Plus and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) are options available to those who qualify. Learn more here.
  • Prevent Disconnection of a Friend or Relative. You can help someone avoid electric service disconnection with our Third-Party Notification program. This free service is often used on accounts of those who are elderly or ill, but it can be used for any customer. Learn more about Preventing Disconnection.
  • Income Eligible Weatherization Services. Customers living on low or fixed incomes may be eligible to receive weatherization assistance or repair services through federal and state programs. Please contact your local community action agency. Find one here.

Why is my bill so high this winter?

The simple answer is that it's been colder than normal lately, but there are also other factors that can make a difference in your bill. Below are a few to take into consideration.

Mother Nature

Your energy usage can creep up quickly when heating your home in the winter, which means higher than usual electric bills. There are a lot of factors at play—from how well your home is insulated to your furnace working overtime to combat the frigid weather we've experienced in Ohio lately. Homes with electric heating systems can see especially large jumps.

Extra Billing Days

It's normal for the number of days in each billing cycle to change from month to month. More days per cycle will cause your bill to be higher. You can see the number of days in your billing cycle on the front page of your bill.

Energy Supply Rates

AEP Ohio delivers energy to your home and maintains power lines and equipment. Customers who select another company to supply their power through our lines may have different rates. See page three of your bill to learn about choosing who generates your power and visit http://www.energychoice.ohio.gov for energy providers and their rates.

Electric Heat/Heat Pumps

Even if you have lowered your thermostat, extremely cold weather can require your heat pump to change how it operates. When the temperature outside falls below a certain degree, supplemental heat may kick in to help your system run. In extreme cold periods, when heating needs are the highest, most of the heat provided comes from the less efficient supplemental heat. This is how your bill can increase, even if it seems you haven't done anything differently.

If you have used the emergency heat option on your heat pump, you will most likely need to manually change your thermostat back to normal or you will continue to use resistance heat.

This video will help you better understand your heat pump and how it works in cold temperatures:

Gas Furnaces

Even if you rely on your natural gas furnace as your home's main heat source, your electricity bill can still increase. Your natural gas furnace most likely relies on an electricity-powered blower to help move hot air through your home's ductwork. That electricity-powered blower is operating longer and harder to keep the same temperatures in your home when the outside temperature plummets.

Portable Space Heaters

In extreme cold periods, many people supplement their normal heating system with portable electric space heaters. Electricity to run just one 1,500 watt space heater can cost more than $4 a day, or $30 a week and $130 a month.

Wood or Pellet-burning Stoves

These heat sources may also indirectly impact your electricity bill. While there are higher-efficiency stoves now available, they still require venting and blower fans to exhaust fumes and smoke from your house.

* This information is meant to give you an overview of your heating source's operation. Consult your system's manufacturer for specific information.

How Do I Know My Bill is Accurate?

Bills include important details, look for these items on yours:

  • Check whether the bill is estimated or based on an actual reading under "Meter Read Details" at the top of page 2 of the bill. Most bills are based on actual usage. Within the last 10 years, AEP Ohio switched to radio frequency meters and began collecting meter readings remotely by vehicle in some areas. The practice is more efficient, safer and ensures almost everyone with a radio meter receives a bill that reflects an actual reading. Customers with new smart meters have their usage sent constantly throughout the day back to AEP Ohio.
  • Check the number of days being billed by looking at the "Current bill summary" on the first page. Billing periods can vary between 28 and 35 days, which can affect the overall bill amount.
  • Compare the average daily cost to the previous month or to the same billing period the previous year by looking at "Usage Details."
  • Compare the average temperature for the current billing period to the month before and to the same period the previous year by looking at "Usage Details."

If I Have a Smart Meter, How Can It Help?

Help on managing your bills is right at your fingertips. You can learn how much electricity you use throughout the day. With that information, you can make money-saving choices without sacrificing comfort.

Energy Dashboard:

AEP Ohio also offers you a personalized Energy Dashboard, located here. This page shows you the recent energy usage in your home.

There are several other reports available to you to help monitor your usage and control spending, including High Bill Alerts. When costs do creep up, this alert serves as a heads up so that you could modify your usage. All of these are available as options by going to www.AEPOhio.com/account/usage. Use your account credentials to login, and update your preferences on your Energy Dashboard.

High Bill Alert — Projected electricity bill and usage breakdown.

Weekly Energy Breakdown — week to week energy comparisons and projected electric bill.

Customer Engagement Report — Information and benefits of your smart meter.

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