Cool down winter heating bills

National Grid: customers will see a 'slight' increase in heating costs

Besides turning off the heat, Capital District residents can lower their heating bills this winter by seeking efficient methods to heating their homes.

National Grid said customers locally should expect around a 4 percent increase in their heating costs this winter. During last year's heating season, from November to March, the average resident used 712 therms and paid around $730 during the five-month period. With the expected 4 percent increase, the average customer would pay about $30 more this year.

We expect for the winter heating season a slight increase in the winter heating bills, said William Flaherty, regional executive for National Grid. "Last year it was fairly flat and this year it is up a little bit. Gas price is very dependent on weather, depending on the market prices of gas."

Flaherty said an advantage National Grid does is manage a supply portfolio, which insulates customers from the "volatility" by using hedging contracts and buying some gas at the market price and using some stored supply.

"Long term gas prices look to be fairly stable, so we are not anticipating a big spike," said Flaherty.

Some cost saving measures customers can take to lower their heating bill is having their furnace and heating systems check every two years by a qualified heating contractor; making sure their attic, walls and found are well insulated; and closing gaps around their doors, windows and foundation are well sealed.

Cash rebates are also available for several National Grid Energy Efficiency programs, including Energy Star programmable thermostats, outdoor boiler reset controls, high-efficiency boilers and heaters, high-efficiency water heaters, duct and air sealing, ECM furnace fans and Energy Star windows.

Also, if customers turn down the heat a few degrees, it can yield some substantial savings.

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