Shocked by your power bill? Here's what you should know about it

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- If you're worried about last week's cold conditions running up your power bill, experts say you shouldn't be.

In order to supply Texans with power during the historic winter storm, it cost power companies a lot of money. Travon Knighten and Allexus Headrick of Houston thought that same cost was going to end up on a bill when they cranked up the heat.

"Every time I could, I turned it on," Knighten recalled.

Since last week, some Texans have shared enormous power bills, leaving some neighbors anxious about their statement.

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"I actually saw how someone got a bill for $17,000," Headrick recalled. "When I saw that, it was freaking me out. I was like, 'I don't make that money.'"

"I didn't want to have a high bill at all," Knighten added. "I can't afford that right now. There's a lot going on in the world. I don't need it."

If you're worried, Energy Ogre CEO Jesson Bradshaw said you have no reason to be concerned.

"For most people, they're not going to have to figure out those ridiculously high bills," he said. "The vast majority of Texans in the competitive market don't buy electricity under those kind of rate plans."

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The storm and the electric bills have plunged more Texans deeper into debt after the average price per kilowatt-hour went from 9 cents to $9.

If you're worried, Bradshaw said look at your latest bill. It should say if you're on a fixed plan, and what you pay per kilowatt hour.

It should be around 10 to 20 cents. Even if power companies paid more last week, you won't.

You might notice the energy or delivery charges increase on your bill though. That's not because of an increased price, but if you had power last week, you may have used more energy.

"If you were using a lot of space heaters, or a lot of electric driven heat, those types of appliances use a tremendous amount of electricity," Bradshaw said.

Here's how you could be impacted by last week's weather, according to experts.

Power companies are going to lose a lot of money and it could cause some companies to close. If this happens, you'll be notified and will be allowed to pick a new provider. This may not be a bad thing, experts said.

Bradshaw said 90% of customers that use their service discover they overpay for power.

If you're unsure, Bradshaw said look for a free online tool with your bill and find out if there's a way to lower your kilowatt hour price.

"Power check is a quick and easy," he said. "If you have your bill available, just pull out some numbers. It will give you a spot check to see if you're in market."

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