If the cooler nights don’t already have Central New Yorkers thinking ahead about cold weather, National Grid released its pricing forecast for the Winter Heating Season today in Liverpool. An average homeowner’s natural gas bills for heating should be around $455.00. Regional Executive Melanie Littlejohn says that’s about $12.00 cheaper than a typical winter season.
“The bill should remain relatively low, and in some instances even lower depending on the side of the bill: electricity, a little bump; gas, a much more definitive decrease. So the net effect of it is that customers will enjoy lower bills this year.”
Littlejohn says since the 2004-2005 heating season, the average natural gas bills for homeowners are down by nearly 50-percent. Littlejohn says energy efficiency doesn’t always mean buying a new furnace or boiler.
“That’s a big ticket item. Yes we do help with that, from an incentive perspective. But there are so many simple things we can do.”
Homeowner Dan Cammarata, who works for the company, installed a Wi-Fi thermostat in his home in order to cut costs. He says the app on his smart phone remotely connects with the device in his home to control heating and cooling .
“Right now you can see that the inside temperature in our house is 68 degrees; the humidity is 53 %. On the right side here you see it’s set to 60 and 82, heat at 60 (degrees) and cool at 82.”
Cammarata adds he can change his settings while he’s away from home. This season National Grid is offering incentives to people who hook-up Wi-Fi thermostats.
- Replace a minimum of five incandescent lights with ENERGY STAR® light bulbs for a typical savings of $9 a month.
- Turn off lights, appliances, TVs, stereos, and computers when not in use, and save approximately $9 a month.
- If you have a large television (greater than 32”), turn it off when not watching, and save $8 a month.
- Unplug your electric space heater or hot tub and save $41 a month.
- Recycle your second, older refrigerator and you can save $23 a month.
- Washing your clothes in cold water can save you $9 per month.
- Repair leaky faucets and save $6 per month.
- Unplug electronics with remote control or “instant on” features and save $4 a month. An advanced power strip will do the work for you.
- If you have an electric clothes dryer, clean the filter and straighten the exhaust hose/duct to save $3 a month.
- When buying new appliances, always choose ENERGY STAR® and save $11-$24 a month for the life of the appliance.
- If you have a natural gas furnace, tune it up to save $9 a month, or replace your older furnace with one that is 90 percent or more efficient, for a savings of $30 a month.
- Install a programmable thermostat that lowers the setting at night and when no one is home, and save $15 a month.
- Caulk and weather-strip around windows and doors to keep warm air indoors and save $13 a month.
- Dry only full loads of laundry and save $7 a month.
- Lower your water heater setting to 120° F and save $9 a month.
- Use a low-flow showerhead to save 8,212 gallons of water and up to $246 a year.
- Did you know your dishwasher has an energy-saver switch? Turn it on to use less water and lower your water heating bills.
- Choose an energy-efficient hot water tank and save $6 a month.
- Insulate walls, ceilings, and windows and save $16 a month.
- Choose energy-efficient windows and save $28 a month.
Another way to watch costs is to research energy suppliers. The New York Public Service Commission has a list of companies that sell gas and electricity (click here:) Called Power to Choose, which would still be delivered by National Grid.
Littlejohn encourages consumers to shop around for the best price on gas and electricity. And she stresses the importance of understanding the contract terms of an energy supplier before signing.