AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — As cold weather continues in the Amarillo area, officials with Xcel Energy said that it could lead to an increase in energy bills as more electricity is used to warm homes and businesses.

According to a news release from Xcel Energy, individuals are able to apply for energy assistance or establish payment arrangements with the company if they are concerned they may fall behind on payments.

“The subzero temperatures many of us experienced in December led to higher energy use across the area,” Adrian J. Rodriguez, the president of Xcel Energy New Mexico, Texas, said in the release. “Bills go up when we use more electricity, and many customers may find it difficult to cover these higher costs. We want to assure our customers that we offer flexible options for staying current on their bills.”

The release said energy assistance programs can help with the cost of monthly energy expenses and allow individuals “to allocate their funds to what is most important.” For those having trouble paying their bills, Xcel Energy encourages them to contact a customer agent by phone to discuss payment arrangement options, allowing them to divide the balance into installments to be paid over time.

For more information, individuals are asked to call the Xcel Energy Contact Center at 1-800-895-4999, which is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.