COPY-Homeowner Skeptical Over Soaring Gas Bills - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/16/05-Smith County

COPY-Homeowner Skeptical Over Soaring Gas Bills

Jackie Weaver moved into his new home on Lake Park eight months ago.

After the first partial month, his electric bills for air conditioning have remained pretty consistent each month, even during the hottest months of the year. But it's a totally different story, if you look at his gas bills for heating, cooking, and the fireplace.

"It doesn't seem right that a house like I've built here that's insulated really well would use double the amount of energy each month," he said.

$64 in October to more than $120 in November to nearly $240 in December.

Weaver finds it odd that gas rates increased by 100 percent, while during the same period, electric rates went down by 15 percent.

We called Centerpoint Energy, and a representative said Weaver's gas usage did double. But Weaver doesn't believe it. Neither do hundreds of East Texans who are also shocked by their recent gas bills. They wonder if Centerpoint actually sends someone to read the meter every month, or if the company sometimes just estimates.

"I feel like I'm hostage here," Weaver said. "As far as I know, there's only one gas company, so you're stuck with them."

He's also stuck with the way his house is configured. Weaver doesn't have the option right now of switching from gas to electric.

"The cost of redoing it at this point would be outrageous because I would have to go through the floor tresses to get there," he said. "Yeah, I am having second thoughts, wishing I'd at least put an electrical outlet there for where the oven and the stove is."

For now, Weaver says he'll start reading his own meter to make sure it's actually being read and read correctly.

If you feel you've been charged unfairly on your gas bill, we want to know about it: jtam@kltv.com.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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