Woolley bear caterpillars and extended forecasts aside, there’s no telling how cold it will be this winter, or how big your heating bill will be. The PUC hopes you’ll “Prepare Now“. The campaign encourages people who are having financial struggles to reach out to their utility to see what programs are available.
Commissioner Pamela Witmer says we can all take steps to be more energy efficient. Those include turning back the thermostat, using a programmable thermostat, and switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs. She adds you can also lower heating costs by closing your drapes when it’s cloudy, making sure your registers are not blocked so you’re getting the most heat out and your furnace is running at peak efficiency and even putting plastic over the windows for additional insulation.
Witmer says don’t wait for the bill to come in the mail. Call your utility and see what kinds of programs they have for low income families. If you don’t qualify, there may be a budget plan that could help spread out the payments for higher winter heating bills.
Witmer says be careful with supplemental heating sources. If you’re using a fireplace, make sure the flue are inspected and cleaned out. Use space heaters as instructed by the manufacturer. Never use the oven to heat the room or burn charcoal indoors.
Witmer says people also need to know their rights. Low income individuals cannot have their service terminated during winter months. That period runs from November 30th through April 1st in Pennsylvania.
You can learn more at the PUC’s web site http://www.puc.state.pa.us/Home.aspxor by calling 1-800-692-7380.