(WHTM) — Brace yourself, this could be an expensive winter when it comes to your utility bills. Even if you don’t heat with natural gas, you could soon be facing sticker shock.
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Jim Mehne watches his thermostat settings carefully and usually keeps it set at 62 degrees Fahrenheit. But. he just learned that his budget billing rate, which he pays for every month, is jumping from $128 to $160.
“$31.60. Works out to about $360 a year,” Mehne said.
Mehne says this will take a bite out of next year’s budget.
“Right now with the way income is and everything else in the world, everything going up, it’s going to make it harder to pay the other bills,” Mehne said.
It is typical for gas and electric rates to go up in the winter because it is all based on weather and demand. But, this year, a strange thing has happened: natural gas prices have been going up all year long.
The United States Energy Information Administration says if you heat with gas, expect to spend 30% more this winter than last. But, electric rates are up, too, due to last winter’s Texas storms and higher electric generating costs.
What can you do?
“We are just trying right now to customers to be prepared,” Sally Thelen, Duke Energy, says.
Thelen says you could save as much as 3% on their bill for every degree they turn down their thermostat. Plus, she says to check those windows and doors for leaks.
“Weather stripping around doors, making sure you have a tight seal if you need to add caulk around windows. Really just do things to keep the heat in,” Thelen added.
Homeowners like Mehne are hoping for a mild winter because rising prices on gas, groceries, and now utilities are starting to take a toll.