Cold Weather Coming, be Prepared; Heating Bills Expected to be Lower this Season
NEW YORK – Temperatures continue to drop this week, a seasonal reminder to New Yorkers that cold weather is just around the corner. Lower natural gas prices will mean lower heating bills for customers this winter; however, Con Edison continues to urge customers to adopt energy-saving and safety tips.
Con Edison has obtained adequate natural gas supplies for the company’s 1.1 million gas customers, approximately 263,000 of whom use gas for home heating in Manhattan, the Bronx, Westchester County, and parts of Queens.
While a drop in natural gas prices should result in home heating bills being about 12 percent lower this winter than last, the company is urging customers to insulate their homes and use energy wisely. A customer who paid an average of $453 per month last winter can expect to pay about $399 per month during the upcoming winter heating months of November through March.
“We are seeing lower natural gas prices than last year, but customers should prepare now by insulating their homes and learning to use natural gas more efficiently,” said Claude Trahan, senior vice president of Gas Operations at Con Edison.
Customers are encouraged to visit Con Edison’s Web site at www.conEd.com/thepowerofgreen, and follow these energy-saving tips this winter:
* Set thermostat at 68 degrees during the day and 60 degrees at night. Turning the thermostat back 10 to 15 percent for eight hours a day can trim seasonal heating costs up to 10 percent.
* Before the heating season begins, have the heating system cleaned and inspected by a qualified contractor. A clean, well-maintained system will operate more efficiently and use less fuel.
* Caulk and weather-strip the spaces around doors and windows.
* Remove items from around radiators, baseboard heaters, and hot-air vents.
* Be sure to properly insulate the attic. Because heat rises, adding a layer of insulation to the attic will help the house retain heat.
* Find out about incentives for purchasing and installing high-energy efficiency heating equipment for homes at www.conEd.com/energyefficiency.
* Visit Con Edison online at Customer Central (www.conEd.com/customercentral) for additional energy-saving tips.
The company is also offering customers advice on how to keep their homes safe during the cold weather. Here are some tips that can contribute to a safe, accident-free environment:
* Do not heat rooms with your range or oven. These appliances aren’t designed for space heating. Using a range or oven can cause a fire. Using the appliances for heating can also deplete oxygen levels and cause a buildup of lethal carbon monoxide.
* Be sure heating and cooking appliances are properly adjusted, and are working to manufacturer’s specifications and local building codes. Never operate a portable generator indoors.
* All heating systems, vents, and flues should be inspected and cleaned annually by a qualified technician.
* Never extinguish a pilot light. Blowing out the pilot doesn’t stop gas from escaping. Don’t create a gas leak to save a few pennies.
* If you smell a strong odor of gas, leave the premises immediately and take others with you. Do not strike a match, use telephones, switch on electrical appliances, lights, or even a flashlight in the area where you smell gas.
* Report all indoor and outdoor gas leaks 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling toll-free 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633).
* Customers can learn more about energy-saving and safety tips by visiting the company’s Web site at www.conEd.com.
Con Edison’s Level Payment Plan helps customers to even out energy costs over the entire year. In addition, HEAP (Home Energy Assistant Program) grants are available for qualified New York state residents, and EnergyShare funds are available for qualified needy families.
The company also provides consumers information about the opportunity to comparison shop for an alternate energy supplier through PowerYourWay
(www.poweryourway.com). Customers who choose an alternate supplier by enrolling in PowerMove will save 7 percent on their energy costs for an introductory period.
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