BRISTOL, Tenn. -

The snow and bitterly cold temperatures could lead to sticker shock when you open your power bill this month.

Heat pumps have been working overtime and thermostats have been cranked up due to the bitterly cold temperatures across the Tri-Cities. "With the cold weather I believe that the power bills will be a lot higher," says Kathy Millard, who is concerned about her bill.

"I'd say it's probably going to be about the same, because we've had so much cold weather and we've had to run some extra space heater units," adds Dawn Bell.

Bristol, Tennessee Essential Services CEO Mike Browder tells us customers could see a large increase on their next power bill. "We're seeing some numbers that are 35 to 40 percent higher now than in December," he said. "Compared to last January it's 20 to 25 percent more usage."

Browder tells us the cold weather is to blame. "Our bill to TVA at the end of this month will be the highest bill we've ever paid," he said.

Browder says BTES does have a program in place to help customers, its levelized monthly billing, which allows customers to pay a pre-set amount each month. "If it’s a lot more this time, it levelizes a little bit into the future. So we charge it over a period of time using a formula to do that," he explained.

Browder says if you don't use that plan, making some small changes can add up to big savings on your power bills. "If you lower your temperature 5 degrees, you'll be 25 percent savings on your energy bill," he told us.

If you have any air coming in through your doors or windows, put something up to block it.

People like Dawn Bell tell us high power bills put them in a tough spot. "You have to juggle your bills to make sure everything gets paid. The power bill is always one of those things you have to pay it," she said.

Browder tells us the levelized monthly billing program has over 7,300 customers. BTES customers looking to purchase the plan must have a zero balance and a 12-month billing history.