Experts explain higher than usual utility bills across Texoma

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DURANT, Okla. (KXII) -- Though Texomans said this winter doesn't seem like it has been colder than usual, in some ways it has been.

According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, temperatures in January were colder than average in Oklahoma and Texas compared to the last 30 years.

News12 Meteorologist Steve LaNore said Texoma experienced the coldest morning in the past 22 years in January.

Average temperatures are also the coldest they’ve been in Sherman in seven years. In fact, data shows Texoma winter temperatures have been above average in years past.

Plus, this winter has also been drier than usual, meaning the days and nights feel a lot colder.

Durant resident Coralinda Kloberdanz said her latest electricity bill the highest it’s ever been.

"We had some cold weather last year and the year before too and it's never been this high,” Kloberdanz said. “These poor people that are on a fixed income. They're who're going to have the real problems."

Oklahoma Gas and Electric assured News12 they haven't raised their prices; it's just taking more energy to maintain the set temperature in their homes.

"Just the other morning we woke up and it was 18 degrees,” OG&E spokesperson Robert Holliday said. “Generally we'll have a cold night and it warms up through the day. But we've not been getting that."

Holliday said they offer weatherization assistance, like insulation, caulking and weather stripping as well as Home Energy Efficiency tune-ups to help people get their bills down. But until then…

"You might want to drop it down a degree or two and then when you come home raise it up a degree or two,” Holliday said. “I'm sure all the utilities are having the same issue at this time."

Changing the air filter also helps.

Across the Red River, the Texoma Council of Governments offers weatherization assistance for Cooke, Fannin, Grayson and Lamar Counties, as well as utility assistance for those who qualify.

TCOG told us their energy-saving measures can reduce energy consumption up to 40 percent.

They can even repair or replacement of heating and air conditioning units.

"I use bubble wrap around all my windows and through the little cracks,” Kloberdanz said.

Certain criteria must be met for each program, but Kloberdanz said it's a call she plans on making.

As for the cold in general…

"I want to move back to Montana,” Kloberdanz said. “If I'm going to be cold, I want snow."

You can find more information about the assistance programs on the links section of this news story.

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