Triple-Digit Heat Leads To Triple-Digit Bills For Valley Families

Lorraine Alvarado is one of many people who spent the whole day with her family at a splash park in Downtown Fresno Tuesday.

"It's just too hot to be in the house, even though we have coolers and all that," Alvarado said.

And while Lorraine's kids got relief from the heat by playing in the water, she couldn't help but think of the relief she'll get on her energy bill just by staying outside.

"It goes up to $119 or higher," she said, adding that her bill is normally around $40.

It is exactly the kind of thing PG&E wants you to do when the mercury rises.

"Really what you see is those bills tend to arrive in August, September time frame. And this can be a time where it can really be a challenge for folks because it is so hot here," Jeff Smith, PG&E spokesperson, said.

But if you do stay home, PG&E suggests opening your windows and blinds first thing in the morning and at night to allow the cooler air in.

If you leave for work, turn the air up to 85 degrees and shut your blinds.

"That way the natural cooling from outside will kind of help keep your house cooler for a longer period of time and your air conditioner won't have to work as hard to cool your house down," Smith said.

PG&E officials say all that cooling down has a big impact on them as well.

"During the week, which is what we're seeing this week with 105-degree-plus temperatures for several consecutive days, it can be taxing on the equipment; think of it as a car constantly having to run at a real high speed," Smith said.

The threat of power outages around the Valley is a real concern.

PG&E also says if you're having trouble paying your energy bill when it's this hot, you have the option of a "balanced payment plan"; that's where your bill is averaged out and you receive more equal bills throughout the year, instead of them spiking when it's really hot or cold outside.