MADISON, Wis. - With that heat not looking to let up anytime soon, some residents might be wondering what the bill for their air conditioning is going to look like this month.
Madison Gas and Electric officials said the bill may not be as bad as some think, although it depends on a number of factors, including the size of one's house, the age of the air conditioner and how high it's running.
The power company almost set a record last week after the heat spiked into triple digits, missing the all-time record for energy use by 1 percent on Friday.
How does that translate to customers' bills? MG&E officials said that, on average, Madison homeowners spend about $110 to $120 a year on air conditioning in an average summer and it really only may cost $20 to $30 more than that with the increased temperatures.
"In a year like this, where we've already had three days in excess of 100 degrees, I think most people have adjusted to the fact that they've been comfortable having air conditioning and know that it's going to cost them more money," said Steve Krause with MG&E. "Add on another 20 percent to that $110 or $120 for just the air conditioning portion (of your bill) and that's pretty close to what it's going to cost, at least up to this point."
MG&E said it recommends turning the thermostat up during the day and keeping the blinds closed to moderate the bill, which could creep higher in cost if the heat continues.
It's harder to pinpoint how much water bills could be after some residents have been running sprinklers and hoses for weeks.
Officials with the Madison Water Utility said they are pumping about 5 percent more water out than last year, but because meters are read every six months, they couldn't say how much more the average person is using right now. At this point, officials are still asking people to conserve water given the dry conditions.
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