While temperatures are dropping, the cost of natural gas is rising.
“Two things are happening,” said Richard Meyer, vice president of energy with the American Gas Association. “Natural gas demand has risen, and we’ve also seen growth in natural gas production and supplies.”
Prices are at a seven-year high — rates not seen since February of 2014.
“I’ve seen numbers that gas prices are up 180%,” said Dan Considine with Citizens Energy.
Citizens Energy can’t say how much prices will rise for you yet, but Hoosiers should expect to see higher bills this winter.
Last year, the average bill over the entire winter season was $428, which was up slightly from the year before.
The good news for Hoosiers is that there is plenty of help available.
“If you need assistance on your heating bill, contact the State Energy Assistance Program.”
The program is accepting applications beginning October 1.
“If a customer applies for and is receiving state energy assistance from the EAP program, they will automatically get a discount on their gas bill through our universal service program,” Considine said. “So that kind of a double benefit for applying for, for getting that state assistance.”
Other ways to save this winter includes changing your furnace filter, sealing up openings to the outside and taking advantage of the solar energy.
“We also advise customers to dial back your thermostat, 5 to 7 degrees at night, when you go to bed,” Considine said.
Energy Assistance Program (EAP)
State and federal utility assistance dollars are available for income-eligible customers. Those that fall within 60% of state median income should visit their local community action agency to sign up for the EAP. To apply for the EAP, customers should call 1-800-872-0371 to locate their nearest community action agency. Customers may also apply any time at the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority website at https://ihcda.rhsconnect.com/.
Universal Service Program (USP)
All eligible natural gas heating customers who apply and qualify for EAP will automatically be enrolled in the Universal Service Program, which provides additional gas bill reductions that range from 15 to 32% of the total bill received (not including EAP benefits) in the months of December through May.