MILWAUKEE — Wisconsin had a mild January, compared to what it could have been, but this week the state has been hit with some brutally cold weather, and even colder wind chills.
Many have turned the heat up in their home or apartment just to stay warm. But with every degree that thermostat goes up, the higher the energy bill gets.
Brendan Conway, a spokesperson with We Energies, said the rise in price is because of the cost of natural gas.
“That’s what’s driving these bills, right? The cost of natural gas, which we do not make a profit on, that’s about 60% of your total bill,” Conway said. “So, the less natural gas you can use, the lower your bill is going to be.”
Conway said even though it’s been extremely cold the past few days, bills could even themselves out if there are some warmer days in February when people don’t need to “blast the furnace” as much.
But, the cost of everything right now is high, and a lot of people need help paying their bills on time.
Through what the state calls the “heating season,” nearly 112,000 homes have taken advantage of the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program. It has provided more than $59 million in financial assistance to families in need so far.
There are income restrictions to qualify for the WHEAP. A household of one may qualify if they make $31,103 per year or less; a family of four may qualify at $59,813 per year or less.
Conway said energy companies, such as We Energies, have ways to help, too.
“Instead of getting overwhelmed, we say, ‘Give us a call,'” he said. “There are so many different programs and options we can work with, and it really is customer specific. So, we can work with each customer one-on-one, but the first step they need to do is contact us, and then we can work with them to make sure they can stay warm without feeling overwhelmed with some sort of energy bill.”
For more details about the WHEAP, click here.