Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Winter heating cost update: Extreme cold increases energy bills; what to do

Based on weather data through mid-March, assuming normal weather in the second half of March and month of April, and the price of natural gas remaining where it is today on the spot market, we expect the average residential customer to pay about $739 for heating with natural gas this winter. The total is:
  • 34 percent more in winter heating costs than the past winter when customers paid $552. 
  • 16 percent less than 2007-08 when customers paid $878 while using 6 percent less natural gas. 
  • Less than four of previous 10 winters. 
The average residential customer would use 14 percent more natural gas than the previous winter and 20 percent more than the previous 5-year average.

Weather comparison
  • The combined average daily temperature from November through February was: 
  • The coldest in that time frame since 1976-77. 
  • The 8th coldest in that time frame since 1891-92. 
  • 21 percent colder than normal. 
More cold facts:
  • January 2014 was the 16th coldest month (ever) on record since 1891 and coldest January in more than 30 years. 
  • February was the 12th coldest February since 1891 and 26 percent colder than a normal February. 
  • So far this month, March has been 22 percent colder than normal. 
If March remains 22 percent colder than normal, and we have a normal April, this winter would be one of the 10 coldest on record since 1891.

Managing your costs

Along with the colder-than-normal winter come larger-than-normal energy bills, but you have some options that might help:
  • Saving energy. You can use energy more wisely going forward to keep more money available to pay bills and meet other needs. Energy-saving ideas 
  • Switching to budget bill. You can even out your payments and avoid spikes that can occur during cold winters and hot summers. You pay the same each month, with semi-annual adjustments for actual usage. Budget bill information 
  • Setting up a payment plan. You may qualify for a flexible payment plan to help you catch up on your bills. Payment plan information 
Want more information? 
Email or call us anytime at 800-242-9137.

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