BERLIN, Conn. (November 3, 2021) – With global demand for natural gas soaring, gas and electricity prices for the upcoming winter heating season are on the rise. After hitting 10-year lows during the COVID-19 pandemic, the price of natural gas has risen significantly – impacting customers nationwide and across the globe. The driving factors include an increase in global demand during the ongoing economic recovery and a significant drop in U.S. gas supply due to a number of issues including the pandemic and extreme weather in gas-producing states.
In November, the average Eversource natural gas residential heating customer could see a 14%, or $30, increase on their total bill as compared to their average monthly winter heating bill in 2020. Because the Purchased Gas Adjustment (PGA) rate is adjusted monthly, customers can expect to see incremental changes throughout the heating season.
The increasing cost of natural gas will also impact the cost of electricity.
The cost of electricity changes twice a year in Connecticut for Eversource customers. Eversource will file this week new cost of electricity rates applicable to customer bills beginning January 1, 2022. Eversource and other utilities do not earn a profit on the cost of electricity in Connecticut and charge customers only what the company pays generators for electricity. The cost of electricity will likely rise beginning on January 1.
Eversource wants customers to know it is critically important for them to take action now.
“With supply constraints, extreme weather and other challenges related to the pandemic driving up natural gas prices across the globe, our customers do have options to better manage their own energy use and to help pay their energy bills,” said Eversource Executive Vice President, Customer Experience and Energy Strategy Penni Conner. “Connecticut’s assistance programs are some of the best in the country and we urge customers to take advantage of options like UniteCT and COVID-19 payment plans while those options are still available.”
Customers are urged to prepare now for higher-than-normal winter bills by taking advantage of programs like Connecticut’s UniteCT and Eversource’s energy efficiency solutions and payment plan options.
Help is available now to pay energy bills
· UniteCT which provides up to $15,000 rental and electricity payment assistance on behalf of Connecticut households financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
· Operation Fuel is a private, nonprofit energy assistance program for those needing emergency help with their energy bills year round and who aren’t receiving other state or federal assistance.
· Enroll in the New Start Program to eliminate portions of your overdue balance by making payments on time each month.
Things customers can do now to save energy:
· Use the Heating Calculator on Eversource.com. This tool allows customers to see how colder weather impacts their energy bill and the small adjustments to their thermostat that will help them save.
· Sign up for a Home Energy Solutions home energy audit. During the audit, a certified technician checks a customer’s home to identify places it can be tightened up to save money and energy. The technician will do on-the-spot improvements like replacing old lighting with LEDs, sealing up drafty doors and windows and closing air gaps around pipes.
· Take advantage of the Kill-A-Watt electricity usage meter, which shows how much power is being used by most home devices. The Kill-A-Watt kits are available for borrowing from nearly 200 libraries around the state. A list of participating libraries can be found at Eversource.com, here.
Additional tips for keeping energy costs down in the winter:
· Switch to LED lights. The energy efficient bulbs run cooler and last up to 25 times longer than incandescent lights.
· Set programmable or smart thermostats as low as is comfortable when at home and awake, and lower when sleeping or away from home. Every degree lower on the thermostat saves about two percent on the heating bill.
· Weatherize the home by caulking and weather-stripping all doors and windows. Also use locks on windows to make them tighter and draft resistant. Insulate or increase the amount of insulation in the attic, basement and outside walls. Some common signs of air leaks include drafts around closed windows or doors, visible gaps or peeling paint around window or door trims, openings where water pipes or wiring leave or enter the house, or noticeable discoloration of attic insulation.
· Close the fireplace damper when not in use.
· Keep shades and curtains open during the day on the south side of your home to allow solar heating. Close them at night to retain heat.
· Have the home heating system serviced once a year and regularly replace furnace filters. During the heating season, change or clean furnace filters once a month.
· Keep baseboard heaters and radiators clean, and make sure they aren’t blocked by furniture, carpets or drapes.