New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) is urging customers to take steps to manage their energy bills this winter due to market conditions that have elevated energy supply prices.
“Our electricity and natural gas delivery rates are expected to remain steady through the winter,” said Terri VanBrooker, Vice President of Customer Service for NYSEG and RG&E. “The other major component of bills, supply prices, are provided by third parties and are projected to significantly increase compared to last year. These supply prices, combined with higher energy use in the cold weather months, may result in higher bills for our customers.”
NYSEG does not own generation but procure energy on the open market which has experienced a rise in fuel prices due to supply constraints and global events. The company does not realize any financial benefit from supply charges, as supply charges are passthrough costs that represent the actual cost of purchasing the energy to deliver to customers.
The company estimates that based on current market prices, the average residential customer in eastern New York should expect to pay an average of about $48 more a month for electricity this winter – December through March – which represents a projected increase over last year of about 45%. Those who are also gas customers, can expect to pay an average of about $47 more a month for gas from December through March. This is an increase of about 30% over the same period last year. Eastern New York includes our Auburn, Binghamton, Brewster, Ithaca, Liberty, Mechanicville, Oneonta and Plattsburgh divisions.
Based on current market prices the company estimates, the average residential customer in western New York will pay an average of about $12 more a month for electricity – December through March – which represents approximately a 14% increase from the same period last year. Those who are also gas customers, can expect to pay an average of about $47 more a month for gas from December through March. This is an increase of about 30% over the same period last year. Western New York includes our Elmira, Geneva, Hornell, Lancaster and Lockport divisions.
Customers have other options for their electricity and/or natural gas supply. Information on choosing an electricity or natural gas supplier is available at nyseg.com/choice.
Those customers who already obtain their electricity and/or natural gas from a supplier other than NYSEG (also known as an energy services company or ESCO) should consult with their supplier for information on winter supply prices and ask if a balanced billing program is available.
“We encourage our customers to take steps to ensure they are using energy wisely. This includes weatherization projects, implementing low- and no-cost energy conservation measures and considering our Budget Billing service,” VanBrooker said.
When a customer signs up for Budget Billing, NYSEG divides their annual energy bill into 12 equal payments. Every three months, we may review the actual cost of energy used and compare it to the total payments made. If needed, the monthly budget payment is adjusted up or down. This reduces the possibility of a large credit or balance due at the end of the Budget Billing year and protects customer from price volatility.
NYSEG also offers eBill and AutoPay services so customers can set up automatic payments; either service is an ideal complement to Budget Billing to take the worry out of remembering to pay energy bills on time.
To sign up for Budget Billing, eBill or AutoPay services or for more information, NYSEG customers can visit nyseg.com and click on “Account”.
Using Energy Wisely
Taking a few simple steps to control energy use, particularly during extreme weather conditions when energy commodity costs tend to spike, can help control winter bills. Here are some tips from NYSEG:
- Set the thermostat as low as comfort permits. Each degree above 68º F can use 3% more energy.
- Turn thermostats down to 58° when you’re away from the house for more than a few hours or in bed for the night. (This may not be advisable if frail, ill or elderly people or infants are in the home.)
- Install a programmable or wi-fi thermostat to automatically control your heating by lowering the temperature when you’re not home.
- Clean or replace furnace filters as recommended and have your furnace burner checked and cleaned annually by a contractor. A well cleaned and tuned heating system saves you money.
- Use registers to direct warm airflow across the floor, not up toward the ceiling.
- Close vents and doors in unused rooms and close fireplace dampers when not in use.
- Open draperies and blinds on sunny days to let the warmth in; close them at night to insulate against cold air outside.
- Install high-efficiency LED lighting. LED lighting uses 90% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and lasts up to 25 times longer.
- Use programmable timers to turn lights on/off.
- Turn off lights and electronics when not in use.
- Set water heater temperatures at 120° to cut water heating bills without sacrificing comfort.
- Install water-flow restrictors in showerheads and faucets.
- Limit the length of showers.
Energy Assistance Programs
Energy Assistance Program (EAP) helps eligible customers manage their energy bills through a monthly bill discount. You’re automatically enrolled with a current HEAP benefit, and we’ve expanded eligibility criteria with a new application if you receive other assistance.
Payment Plans – We can help with payment plans available online for eligible customers or contact us so we can find a solution together.
Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) and Emergency HEAP are federal grant programs that help income eligible households pay for energy bills, repairs and weatherization.
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