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NORTH TEXAS (CBS11) – Some Atmos Energy customers say they have noticed their natural gas bills have been higher than normal this winter.

Angel Cole told CBS11, when she received her Atmos Energy bill in October, she thought there had been a mistake.

“Then I received the next one and it was twice as much,” said Cole. “I only use natural gas for fire place and our hot water heater so there is no reason why that would be some $300 one month. It wasn’t even cold.”

Cole said that the swing from a credited account to high bills makes it difficult to budget for.

Atmos Energy representatives told CBS11 there are a few components contributing to the higher than normal bills this month.

Jennifer Altieri with Atmos said even with the relatively mild winter, customers experienced higher natural gas bills simply because the gas cost in higher than last year.

“Natural gas prices rose over 40 percent in the summer of 2016,” said Altieri. “The spike in natural gas prices has resulted in a higher Gas Cost Rider on a customer’s bill.”

The GCR represents actual gas costs and does not include profit.

Altieri also said there have been some questions over ‘actual’ meter reads versus ‘estimated’ meter reads.

“If the meter at your home is not read, you will receive an estimated bill based on prior usage, weather and other factors. You’ll see the word ‘estimated’ printed next to the meter reading on your bill. While an estimated bill does not measure actual usage, the bill will be adjusted accordingly after the next meter reading,” she explained.