Home Pay off Wisconsin winter heating bills expected to rise $20-$30 per month

Wisconsin winter heating bills expected to rise $20-$30 per month

Wisconsin winter heating bills expected to rise $20-$30 per month

Wisconsin homeowners and renters may want to set aside more money to cover their heating bills this winter.

A spike in natural gas prices, largely due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is behind a projection that the average home heating bill will be $20-$30 per month higher. to that of last winter for customers of We Energies, Wisconsin Gas and Wisconsin. Public Service Corp. All three are subsidiaries of the Milwaukee-based WEC Energy Group, which covers most of eastern Wisconsin.

This estimate includes the assumption that the Wisconsin Public Service Commission will approve an increase in residential gas costs of approximately $6 per month. The utilities are looking to have the new rates take effect Jan. 1, We Energies spokesman Brendan Conway said.

WEC Energy Group anticipates slight variations in monthly residential heating costs by subsidiary, based largely on temperature differences in service areas:

  • We Energies: Up to $20 to $25. Bills averaged $102.50 per month last winter.
  • Wisconsin Public Service Corp. : Up to $25 to $30. Bills averaged $120 a month last winter.
  • Wisconsin Gas: Up to $25 to $30. Bills averaged $115 a month last winter.

National Energy Aid Directors estimate national home heating costs will be 17.2% higher this winter.

Natural gas prices last month were 52% higher than in September 2021 and have more than quadrupled since the low of the coronavirus pandemic in May 2020, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

Conway said utilities try to manage costs by storing as much fuel as possible in the summer and signing future delivery contracts when prices are low. The price of natural gas is about two-thirds of what the utility charges customers.

Utilities charge customers the same price they pay for natural gas. There is no markup, Conway said.

He encouraged We Energies customers who are worried about paying their bill to contact the company at 800-842-4565 or online at we-energies.com to be connected to heating assistance programs and payment options. of invoice.

WPS customers can call 800-450-7260 or visit wisconsinpublicservice.com.

Related:Here’s what you need to know about energy assistance in Wisconsin

Related:Large parts of Wisconsin could experience a snowier-than-normal winter, according to AccuWeather’s long-term forecast

Tips for preparing your home for winter

Tom Content, executive director of the Citizens Utility Board of Wisconsin, said now is a good time to consider small, even large, projects to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

He said people might be surprised when bills go up this winter because natural gas prices have remained relatively flat for the past decade.

Unfortunately, he said, the federal incentives for homeowners included in the federal Inflation Reduction Act to improve their home’s energy efficiency won’t be available until next year.

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But there are also many small, affordable projects – some even free – that can make a difference.

“I really hope people sit down in their chairs and think about what I can do around my house,” Content said.

“Walk around your house, if your attic seems cooler than the rest of the house or your basement, that’s probably an area you want to consolidate with insulation or air sealing – things which would really pay off now.”

Here are some low-cost recommendations from CUB and Wisconsin Focus on Energy that can lower your bill:

  • Use the power of the sun: This one is free. Just open the blinds or curtains and let the sun warm up. The temperature of a room facing south can rise by up to 10 degrees on a sunny day.
  • Clockwise for winter: Most ceiling fans have two settings controlled by a switch. In winter, a clockwise direction pulls the air upwards, mixing cold and warm air, but keeping the breeze away from you.
  • Get to know your thermostat: Check your programmable thermostat settings to make sure they are still suitable for night and day, home and away. Better yet, says Focus on Energy outreach manager Karl Hilker, get yourself a smart thermostat. They can learn from your behavior and adapt whether you’re home or away. Focus on Energy is offering a $50 discount on smart thermostats.
  • Give the oven some love: Changing filters regularly can make a big difference, and it’s important to have your furnace inspected to make sure it’s operating at its fullest and most efficient capacity.
  • If you feel it, fix it: On a cold, windy day, it’s pretty easy to figure out where leaky windows and doors are letting the cold in. You can stop drafts by caulking windows with silicone and replacing old weatherstripping.
  • Keep hot water hot: Wrapping your water heater and pipes reduces the amount of energy needed to get hot water to showers and sinks.

Find more energy-saving tips from the Citizens Utility Board at cubwi.org. Additional Focus on Energy advice and discount information on everything from LED light bulbs to water-saving showers and sinks can be found at focusonenergy.com.

Contact Karl Ebert at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @karlwebert.