Possible increase in winter utility bills - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Possible increase in winter utility bills

September 21, 2005

Albany--Hurricane Rita may disrupt the nation's oil industry even more than Hurricane Katrina and that could affect your wallet for months to come.

The federal government says natural gas prices could go up 70 percent, which will mean much higher heating bills this winter. However, there are some things you can do to save on your utility bill as cold weather approaches.

Whenever Alisha Bowman leaves a room she makes sure she turns off every light.

"It's light outside. The lights aren't on because there's enough sunlight coming from outside," she says.

Bowman worries about an increase in her utility bills, something Albany Water, Gas, and Light representatives say is possible because of a busy hurricane season.

"As the gas is more expensive for us to purchase, and if we have a colder winter, gas prices are certainly going to go up,"  she says.

"Bills aren't cheap, so if they go up, I'm going to have to get a job and work a little harder to pay the bills," says Bowman.

Work harder to pay the bills and even harder to save energy, including watching how much she uses her thermostat.

"Keep the thermostat the same temperature. Don't turn it up. Don't turn it down,"  she says.

WG&L's Lorie Farkas says it's best to keep your thermostat at 68 degrees in the winter, but also offers other tips.

"For winter number one, keep all your drapes open because the sun is the largest source of heat," says Farkas.

And remember to change your filter at least once a month.

"Dust and dirt block your heater from performing. You still have some hot air, but you're paying for heat you're not getting the benefit of," says Farkas.

And if you're not careful, another factor that can cause your utility bill to go up, is a leaky faucet, so you want to make sure you have that turned off.

Something else Bowman keeps in mind, the larger the appliance the more energy it uses.

"If you just think about some of the things and be considerate and be mindful of the gas and lights, then you won't have to worry about the bill being high."

You can call Water, Gas, and Light to set up a free appointment with an energy auditor who will inspect your home and tell you how to conserve engergy.  You can reach them at 883-8330.

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