ROSWELL, Ga. -- Georgia Power's Joey Williamson is an energy detective who pores through dozens of homes per week for free to help residents figure out how to lower their energy costs.
Roswell resident Colleen Spanier asked for an audit because she couldn't believe her family's power bill in a 2,000-square-foot house was $400. "We paid it, but we don't want another one," she said.
As he toured the house, Williamson noticed several energy hogs: worn-out duct work, an older air conditioner, inefficient incandescent light bulbs and a thermostat the family has been setting at 72 or 75 degrees.
"Georgia Power actually recommends 78. And each degree below 78 you drop it, you're costing yourself from three to five percent per degree, " he explained to Spanier.
There is another reason for high summer energy bills: Georgia Power has higher rates from June through September. Residential customers pay 5.3 cents per kilowatt hours year round, up to 650 kilowats, but after that the price jumps. In winter months the price for 650 to 1000 kilowatt hours is 4.6 cents per kilowatt hour but in summer months it's 8.9, nearly double.
Georgia Power's Amy Fink says the power company has a higher bill in the summer time too.
"In the summer as demand increases, we have to go to more expensive generation to meet demand," she said. She said the power company typically supplies nuclear and hydroelectric power, but in summer months, supplements those with more expensive gas and coal power.
To avoid sticker shock, utility customers can track their daily usage on Georgia Power's website and even project their monthly bill, something Spanier has started doing.
If you believe you are being overcharged for electricity, you can file a complaint with the Georgia Public Service Commission. Click here to file a complaint.