NIPSCO says heating costs expected not to rise this winter - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

NIPSCO says heating costs expected not to rise this winter

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An area natural gas provider says they don't expect your home heating prices to rise this year.  NIPSCO considers November 1 through March 31 to be the "winter heating season."  That is the time that people use their heat most heavily. 

The average customer paid about $440 last year for that five-month period.  This year, NIPSCO, expects that to stay about the same, $438.

"Market prices for natural gas continue to hold at historically low levels thanks in large part to plentiful domestic resources," said NIPSCO CEO Jim Stanley. "This is great for our customers, especially as we head into the winter heating season, when utility bills typically reach their highest point of the year."

NIPSCO offers the following tips to help you save money on your home heating bills:

  • Assess Your Home's Energy Usage:  NIPSCO offers a free online tool to help customers asses their home's level of energy efficiency and receive instant feedback on ways to better manage energy usage based on their specific home profile.  Participants receive many of the same individualized recommendations offered through an actual in-person home inspection.
  • Install a Programmable Thermostat:  As much as half of a household's energy usage comes from heating and cooling.  Installing a programmable thermostat, using pre-programmed settings, can save about $180 every year in energy costs.  NIPSCO offers customers a $20 rebate for the purchase of a new programmable thermostat.
  • Receive Appliance Rebates: NIPSCO offers rebates to all residential natural gas customers who purchase new, energy-efficient natural gas furnaces, water heaters, or boilers.  Rebate amounts range from $100-$750.
  • Recycle Old Appliances: Electric customers with old, inefficient refrigerators or freezers can receive a $35 rebate from NIPSCO and free pick-up service.  Removing these appliances can save $100 on average in annual electricity charges.
  • Shorten Your Showers: Simply reducing shower time by a few minutes can save hundreds of gallons of hot water per month and greatly reduce water-heating costs.
  • Enroll in BudgetPlan: A free service to all NIPSCO customers to help manage their monthly bills by spreading out energy costs over an entire year.
  • NIPSCO Choice Program:  Gives customers an opportunity to choose an alternative natural gas supplier for their home.  Customers purchase gas from an alternative supplier, but NIPSCO is responsible for delivering the gas.
  • DependaBill and Price Protection Service: DependaBill provides a fixed monthly bill with no annual reconciliation, while the PPS option allows customers to fix or cap their per-unit cost of natural gas. 
  • Seal Up Leaks: Caulk leaks around windows and doors. Look for places where you have pipes, vents or electrical conduits that go through the wall, ceiling or floor. If you find a small gap, seal it up.
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