INDIANAPOLIS — As central Indiana anticipates freezing temperatures over the next week, we’re looking at ways you can cut down on your heating costs. Inflation is hitting energy companies hard – which then passes the cost to the customer.

Duke Energy, which does not provide natural gas, is raising rates by an average of $11.71 per month.

“These aren’t permanent rate increases,” McKenzie Barbknecht, Senior Communications Manager, said. “Fuel costs rise and fall, and we pass those costs along to our customers with no markup. So our customers pay what we pay.

A statement from AES Indiana says in part, “Major Indiana electric utilities are allowed to request rate adjustments every three to six months for changes in generating fuel costs as part of a quarterly fuel adjustment clause tracker.” AES Indiana said customers’ bills will be updated in December, January and February based on September’s information, but the agency does not know what the impact will be to customers yet.

CenterPoint Energy’s customers will see an average of $5 increase per month for natural gas.

“Centerpoint Energy does not profit on the purchase and sale of natural gas,” Alyssia Oshodi, Manager of Communications, said. “That is a dollar-for-dollar pass-through to our customers.”

HVAC Manager Dave Mejean with B&W Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Drains said the easiest way to cut down on costs and care for your heating system is to change your air filter regularly or every 30 to 60 days.

“You just think you did it 2 or 3 weeks ago and it was like 3 months ago,” Mejean said.

Showing off air filters, Mejean said you get what you pay for. HE said the minimum recommended filter is a pleated air filter.

“It’s a one-inch pleated filter,” Mejean said “This you can tell it’s going to do a good job.”

You might think shutting off your system when you leave the home is cost-effective but heating experts said that’s not the case.

“If you go too far back the amount of energy it takes to recover that when you get home, that thing is running for a long time so you’re almost going to cancel out what you saved,” Mejean explained.

If anyone needs help paying their utility bills this fall and winter, here are some links to websites that may be able to assist:

CenterPoint Energy’s Payment Assistance Program

Indiana Community Action Association’s Energy Assistance

Duke Energy’s Share the Light Fund