Tacoma mom's energy bill triples; TPU sends specialists to find out why

TACOMA, Wash. -- It’s a story we first shared with you earlier this week, when a Tacoma mom discovered her power bill went from $500 to $1,500. Since Q13 News started investigating, Tacoma Public Utilities sent a conservation specialist to that woman’s home to see what they could find out.

TPU said they found several inefficiencies in Tanya Bartlett’s home that led to the unusually high utility bill, especially during these cold winter months.

The conservation specialists checked ducts, the attic, and every nook and cranny to find the root of the problems. They discovered inefficiencies in the home that the family wasn't aware of, such as a hole in the roof where a chimney once stood, improper insulation and heating ducts that were disconnected.

“It means a lot, at least we got some information that we can work toward,” said Bartlett’s husband, Kenneth Riley.

TPU says they realize this family won’t be the only ones to find their bill higher than normal, and they say taking some preventative steps could make a big difference in the long term.

“Some of these things are things that can be fixed, they’re typically a cost to them, but the homeowner would see immediate benefits if some of these things were modified,” said Chris Gleason with TPU.

In this case, TPU says it also found asbestos in the home, meaning homeowners may be eligible for financial assistance.

However, the big takeaway is that there are programs where the utility companies come weatherize your home. Seattle City Lights and Puget Sound Energy offer similar programs for eligible customers.