Some good news about the coming winter, even if you dread the cold and snow; you’ll have on average 61-extra dollars in your pocket in reduced heating costs. National Grid made its heating-season forecast today.
The average customer should pay around 581 dollars in gas, down nine-percent from last year. They made the announcement at the Tully residence of a family that had just converted its furnace from oil to gas.
Community and Customer Manager Christopher Gorman also recommends a much simpelr way to save on heating: a programmable thermostat.
"Any time that you can turn down the temperature in a bustling, let’s say for example people go away for work or school during the day, reducing it during that time frame has a huge impact, even reducing it at night. The thermostat often gets overlooked as an energy efficiency tool. The other thing is just improving insulation within the building, stopping drafts, leaky windows, doors, that kind of thing.”
Gorman says many of the older homes in the area have other options to save on heating.
"Years ago when homes were built they had almost no insulation in the attic or the walls. And a lot of it comes down to homeowner comfort. If you’re in a home that feels drafty or uncomfortable then chances are there are insulation opportunities that are there. And that’s the other nice thing about doing these things, not only do you save money, your home is much more comfortable in the winter as well."
Gorman further recommends using a programmable thermostat to save. He says National Grid wants to hear from anyone having trouble paying heating bills. There’s budget plans to smooth out high winter bills, along with the Home Energy and Assistance Program.
National Grid recommends customers consider the following this winter:
- Energy conservation – This includes installing sufficient insulation and weather stripping and having appliances inspected – especially furnaces and water heaters. It also includes changing furnace filters regularly and considering purchasing a programmable thermostat.
- Billing options – National Grid’s budget plan is a convenient payment option that helps spread payments out more evenly across the year. This is particularly helpful to individuals on fixed incomes.
- Applying for special assistance programs – Help is available for customers who have difficulty paying their heating bills. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides financial assistance to income-eligible applicants. Households receiving public assistance, Supplemental Security Income or food stamps are the most likely to be eligible for LIHEAP. This federal program opens in November and is available on a first-come, first-served basis to all utility customers. Customers who believe they may qualify are urged to call the New York State Office for the Aging in their county or their county Department of Social Services for more information.
- Replacing aging appliances – Newer natural gas furnaces use fuel more efficiently. High-efficiency units may cost more to buy, but they will save money in the long run, and now with National Grid’s rebate program, are more affordable.
- Reducing energy use by up to 40 percent through NYSERDA – NYSERDA’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program offers assistance to help improve a home’s energy efficiency. Financial incentives and special financing options are available. For more information, visit www.GetEnergySmart.org or call 1-877-NY-SMART.
Information on assistance and efficiency programs is at nationalgridus.com.