A Number of Resources...
Can Help Cut Heating Bills
All the projections for winter heating costs for this year are pointing skyward, especially if Nebraska has a typical winter.
According to Energy Office data, more than 68 percent of Nebraskans heat their home with natural gas. The Energy Information Administration has predicted the average heating bill for natural gas users will rise 15 percent over last year, or about $130. The agency attributed the cost rise to higher prices and increased demand.
An Energy Officeweekly price survey is revealing residential propane prices are 35 percent higher than last year. Residentialheating oil prices at the 15 firms surveyed are about 52 percent higher than last year. This is the third year the Energy Office is conducting the survey for the U.S. Department of Energy.
Things You Can Do
With winter heating bills expected to be among the highest in recent memory, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Alliance to Save Energy, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are all providing tips on saving energy.
Need Help or Can't Pay?
If you or someone you know has struggled in the past with winter
bills, there may be a solution before the bills get out of hand. There
are several alternatives for those Nebraskans who have had difficulty
paying for heating bills:
- http://www.ase.org/content/news/detail/1828">The Powerful $avings campaign, a joint effort of the Department of Energy and the Alliance to Save Energy, offers six smart energy practices and suggests nine home efficiency improvements.
- http://www.aceee.org/press/0410wntrheat.htm">The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy lists the top five “musts” to cut winter heating bills, and recommends its “http://aceee.org/consumerguide/index.htm">Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings, 8th Edition.”
- http://www.energystar.gov/ia/news/downloads/HeatingTips_04FirstFrost.doc">The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program have published “http://www.energystar.gov/ia/products/heat_cool/GUIDE_2COLOR.pdf">A Guide to Energy-Efficient Heating and Cooling,” noting that homeowners can save up to 20 percent on annual energy costs by making energy-efficient improvements to their heating and cooling systems. When heating equipment reaches 15 or more years of age, homeowners should consider a more energy-efficient replacement.
- TheDepartment of Energy's Energy Savers web site also provides information about how to save energy and use renewable energy in your home.
of Nebraska Home
- The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program is available to those with limited incomes. Grants to help pay for the cost of heating may be available from the state's Department of Health and Human Services. To find out more about grants to pay utility bills can be found athttp://www.hhs.state.ne.us/fia/energy.htm
- The Low-Income Weatherization Assistance Program makes improvements in homes so that less energy is used and utility bills are reduced. These services cannot help with unpaid utility bills, but could be effective in reducing the heating bills for next winter. While weatherization services are free, access to services is based on income. Current income limits are listed athttp://www.neo.state.ne.us/wx/incomelimits.htm