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ATLANTA -- Georgia Power set a new record for winter peak demand in early January during our deep freeze, and that was before the snow jam and last week's ice storm.

It's been a long, cold winter. For most, it's also been an expensive one.

YOUR PHOTOS OF THE SNOW | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

"Even though they kept their thermostat set at a particular level, with temperatures dropping outside, the furnace or heat pump is going to run longer," said John Kraft, a spokesman with Georgia Power.

Georgia Power has programs in place to help you manage high bills in the winter or summer.

Customers can spread out payments, start a budget billing plan or sign up for special night and weekend rates.

There's also a brand new program called "My Power Usage."

"It'll give you alerts or notices when your bill hits a certain amount," Kraft said. "You can check it daily so you'll know what your bill is running so you don't get a surprise."

If you're in trouble, don't wait.

"Don't go past your due date before you call, or worse get disconnected," Kraft added. "Call us early and we try to work with customers on a case by case basis to work these things out."

Georgia Power also works with the Salvation Army by matching customers' donations to Project Share for those who can't afford their power bills.

Project SHARE provides emergency assistance to Georgians who need help with basic necessities - housing, food, medical care and utility services.

The program assists the elderly, the disabled, the unemployed, the sick and others who are experiencing financial hardship.

The Heating Energy Assistance Team (H.E.A.T.), Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that has been assisting Georgians with their home energy needs since 1983.

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