Cold temperatures could cause a shock to the heating bill of some

ExploreHome heating costs will rise for the second straight winter

Even with the impending price increases, there are steps people can take in their home or apartment to lower their bills.

Letting the sun heat a home by opening curtains and blinds, cleaning heating systems and air vents of dust, and sealing air duct leaks are ways to cut heating bills, said the US Department of Energy.

“Lower the temperature at night. Although you want the house to be comfortable during the day, adding an extra blanket to your bed can allow you to lower the thermostat by 10 to 15 degrees, reducing heating costs by up to 10% per year,” said the federal agency.

Programmable thermostats and home humidifiers are investments that can be made now and could pay for themselves quickly, said Nick Lamb, owner of Butler Heating and Air Conditioning.

“Some people who have older systems that are considering replacing them anyway due to age or repair issues, are really curious about the new power-saving features built into some of the newer equipment. “, Lamb said.

Customers have shared their concerns about the expected increase in heating costs for their homes this year, he said, but even though the cold weather has started to surface, there is still time to make improvements and take advantage of potential savings.

“The most cost effective or cheapest solution would be a programmable thermostat so you can program the temperature to be higher while you’re there and lower while you’re away,” Lamb said, adding that there are now technology that can detect if a person is home by connecting to a person’s phone and will adjust the temperature accordingly.

Checking and replacing old filters is also a good way to cut costs, Lamb said.

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CenterPoint Energy’s Ohio distributes natural gas to approximately 330,000 customers in this region. The company is offering a number of payment assistance options to help customers who will be affected by the increase, the company said.

“Given the volatility of the natural gas market, customers can choose a fixed price that will not fluctuate during the winter months. Given that natural gas accounts for nearly half of customer bills during the winter months, now would be a good time to explore the best supplier pricing options for your needs,” said Ashley Babcock of CenterPoint Energy. , which is not a natural gas supplier. .

The company said heating with natural gas is still the cheapest way to heat a home. Those who used gasoline paid about $1,000 less than those who used propane and between $50 and $650 than those who used electricity, the company said.

“We recognize the financial challenges our customers may be facing this heating season, and want to encourage them to contact us for options to help them manage costs ahead of their first high bill of the heating season,” Babcock said. . “In addition, clients in need of additional financial assistance can apply for programs available through our local community action agencies and local nonprofit organizations.”

Staff reporter Eric Schwartzberg contributed to this report


Heating costs in winter

Below is a list of tools provided by CenterPoint Energy to help reduce costs or make them more affordable this winter.

  • Choice of program: Through CenterPoint Energy’s Natural Gas Choice program, customers can choose a natural gas supplier that’s right for them. Competing providers offer consumers more pricing options, such as locking in a fixed rate, allowing them to compare energy as they do other products and services. Customers who do not choose a third-party provider are served by one of the five default providers in the standard choice offer at a variable rate. Visit http://www.centerpointenergy.com/choice for an up-to-date list of suppliers and prices.
  • Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP): Federal and state utility assistance dollars are available to income-eligible customers. Households must fall at or below 175% of the federal poverty guidelines to apply. Visit www.development.ohio.gov or call (800) 282-0880 to learn more.
  • HEAP Winter Crisis Program: The HEAP Winter Crisis program provides assistance once per heating season to eligible households that are disconnected or at risk of disconnection. Households must fall at or below 175% of the federal poverty guidelines to apply. Visit www.development.ohio.gov or call (800) 282-0880 to learn more.
  • Payment Plan Income Percentage Plus (PIPP Plus): PIPP Plus asks a qualified household to pay 5% of their monthly income for gas service throughout the year. To be eligible for the PIPP Plus program, a customer must receive their primary or secondary heat source from a company regulated by the Ohio Public Utilities Commission, must have a total household income equal to or less than 175% of the federal poverty. and must apply for all energy assistance programs for which he is eligible.
  • Extension of due date and payment arrangement: These are two free offers that are available to customers who temporarily need a special payment plan to keep service connected and manage energy costs.
  • Energy Efficiency Resources: CenterPoint Energy offers energy efficiency tips, appliance rebates and energy-saving tools to help customers lower their natural gas bills. All Ohio residential and small commercial natural gas customers are eligible. Visit www.centerpointenergy.com/smartsavings or call 1-800-227-1376 for a list of rebates, eligible appliances and energy efficiency tips.
  • Budget Bill: Under this billing plan, a customer’s estimated costs for a year of gas service are broken down into equal monthly bill amounts for the year. This leveling of monthly bill amounts reduces the need to pay the full amount in the winter and spreads some of those higher bill charges over the non-heating months. Amounts are adjusted each summer based on actual costs, and the customer’s credit or amount owed is rolled into the next budget bill payment for the following 12-month period. Customers can register for free at www.centerpointenergy.com or by calling 1-800-227-1376.
  • Weatherization of the house: CenterPoint Energy’s Home Weatherization Program helps eligible Ohio customers implement energy efficiency upgrades to their homes free of charge. Households must be within 300% of the federal poverty guidelines to apply. Visit www.miamivalleycap.org to learn more.

Source: CenterPoint Energy

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