PUEBLO, Colo. - Heat with low temperatures around Southern Colorado is a necessity.
Customers said bills here are proving that the heat comes with a price.
Homeowner Eugene Lucero has seen bills jump.
"Just since it started getting cold, at least $20 a month," Lucero said.
While Lucero said his rates go up, Black Hills Energy said the average bill will go down $17 in the winter to $104.
Black Hills Energy said bills decrease for customers in the winter because air-conditioning units use more electricity in the summer than heaters do in the winter.
But complaints of high bills come out of customers' mouths right into Roy Gonzales' ears at R & R Heating and Air Conditioning.
"I hear that all the time, all the time," Gonzales said.
He said the biggest thing people can do to keep bills down is maintenance.
"It's just like a vehicle you got to change your oil for your motor to last you, just like your maintenance, if you keep it clean it helps it run better," Gonzales said.
Where the thermostat is set when people are out of the house makes a difference too.
"I would definitely get a programmable thermostat," Gonzales said.
Instead of turning the heater off to cut down on costs, keep it on, but turn the thermostat down five degrees.
When turning the temperature back up to where it's comfortable, the heater won't have to work overtime, wasting energy, and money.
"Same thing for at night when you go to bed, once you get in bed, you're under the covers you don't need as much heat," Gonzales said.
Older furnaces and heaters can also add a big increase on energy bills, Gonzales said if it's 10 years or older, it will end up costing more in the end to keep it rather than replace it.