GREENSBORO, N.C. — You open up your electric bill and your immediate reaction is…surprise, and not in a good way. Yeah, you can't believe how much it is! Want to change what your expression looks like and what your bill looks like?

You don't have to wait for the bill to show up. If you have a smart meter, there is a great tool for you to use.

You can get an alert to your phone, telling you when you're over your budget. And you set the budget, so it can be a reality budget or a warning budget. Let's say you set it at $60 during the spring and fall and $100 during winter and summer.

How do you set it up? You get usage alerts in your email right now, this is mine. Inside the alert, you'll see “manage my usage alerts”.

It takes you to this page and you can set your budget and choose email and text.

Ever think your bill has gone up a bunch since you got that smart meter? You can check. When you sign into your account, look at usage analysis. Again, this one is mine. 

When you scroll down on this page you can see this billing cycle and last year's billing cycle. It's almost exact, actually I used less electricity this year.