Managing Winter Heating Costs

Energy savings

In October, the Energy Information Administration warned consumers that heating bills could increase by 30% this winter. Southeast Gas customers will likely experience an increase in bills, but the company is working to ensure that rates stay as low as possible. Consumer action now, in the shoulder months, can also help keep winter bills as low as possible.

Wholesale natural gas prices have been very volatile heading into winter and could have an impact on Southeast Gas customers. However, higher wholesale gas prices will be minimized through the use of lower-priced storage gas and other lower fixed price supplies to keep rates somewhat steady for Southeast Gas customers.

The monthly service fee for General Service and Small Commercial customers moved from $8 to $10 beginning with gas billed in October. Companies across the nation are experiencing higher operating costs, and Southeast Gas is no different. The change is a result of increased labor, benefits, materials, transportation, and other general operating costs. For a bill of $100, this change represents a 2% difference from 2020.

Whatever your heating source, energy bills for this winter are expected to be higher, and there are some things you can do now to help minimize the impact of higher energy costs. Saving money and staying comfortable are both possible, even when taking measures to conserve energy. Here are a few low and no cost ways to make a difference on your energy bills this winter and every winter:

Keep heat inside. Seal around doors and windows. Close dampers when fireplaces are not in use. Insulate around switch plates and wall plugs. Only operate vent fans when ventilation is necessary.

Circulate the heat throughout the house. Reversing fan direction on ceiling fans during the winter (blades should turn clockwise in winter) moves cooler air upward and warm air away from the ceiling and into the living space of the home.

Take advantage of solar heat. Opening blinds or curtains during the day on sunny days helps heat a home. Solar mass like tile floors in a home add to the heating effect. Remember to close blinds or curtains after dark or on cloudy days to keep warm air inside.

Monitor energy usage throughout the home. Minor adjustments throughout the home can add up to significant energy savings. Keep lights off when not in use. Remember to unplug “ghost” users like phone and tablet chargers when not in use.

Set it and forget it. Keeping the thermostat at a steady temperature, set 2-3 degrees below the typical set point for your home, can make a 1-2% difference in energy use per degree change. Frequent changes (up or down) in thermostat settings will result in higher energy use.

Even with diligent monitoring of energy use, some customers may have difficulty paying utility bills this winter. Southeast Gas assists customers with resources to help. Different agencies provide assistance throughout the service area, so contact with the local Southeast Gas office is the best place to start. In addition, Southeast Gas offers a Budget Billing option to qualified general service customers, allowing greater payment amount stability. The company also offers a hardship payment plan in cases of extreme financial hardship.

Southeast Gas proactively manages gas costs to best serve its customers and its communities. For monthly rates, and more information about energy conservation, click here.