With the recent winter's chill dipping normal winter temperatures below average, Gulf Power Corporate Communications manager Jeff Rogers says most of everyone's power bill will go up if they're using electricity for heat. Gulf Power recommends the thermostat be set on 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter.  Every degree above that will increase the typical bill 10%.  However, even following the guidelines, the extreme temperatures will cause a increase in cost. Rogers says because of the storm reserves the company has for restoration efforts, the only thing customers will see on their bill is the additional electricity they purchased during the cold snap.  Because of the  unusual cold, there's bound to be surprises somewhere.

"We recommend to use blankets and portable heaters instead of turning up the heat," he says.  "There’s much more of a (temperature) difference than in the summer. In the summer time we recommend setting your thermostat at 78 degrees Fahrenheit.  In the local area the hottest it gets is 98 degrees Fahrenheit.  That's a 20 degree difference for the air conditioner to make up.  In this case, heaters are having to work harder and longer being that there is a 40 degree Fahrenheit  difference in the temperature from outside to inside, so customers are buying more electricity than usual.”

Rogers also suggests checking out the new features on the Gulf Power website to help with budgeting your usage of electricity.  He says it can allow customers to be aware of how much they're spending throughout the month.  For more information about Gulf Power visit gulfpower.com or call 1-800-225-5797.