Orange & Rockland: Gas Bills About 18% Lower This Winter, Preparation Key To Coping With Winter Chill
Orange & Rockland (O&R) predicts that this winter’s residential natural gas bills for its customers will be approximately 18 percent less than last winter’s.
O&R also reminds customers to conserve energy for additional savings that will help the environment and lower their carbon footprint.
The average monthly winter natural gas bill for a typical O&R full-service residential customer who uses natural gas for home heating is expected to decrease about $41.40 per month, from $231.60 last winter to approximately $190.20 this winter. That estimate is based on the average usage of approximately 165 ccf per month and assumes normal winter weather. The decrease in customers’ bills is driven primarily by a reduction in the commodity price.
The heating season is November through March.
As a utility, O&R does not control the price of natural gas. However, O&R does analyze the supply and demand forecasts to create effective buying strategies that help minimize price fluctuations.
To help O&R’s 130,000 natural gas customers further manage their winter heating costs, the company offers the following:
- To make natural gas work harder for you, it makes sense to have a qualified heating contractor or plumber clean and inspect your heating system before winter sets in. An efficient heating system not only makes your natural gas dollars go farther, but it’s cleaner and safer.
- Taking steps to tighten up insulation by using weather-stripping at all attic stairwells and access openings, and stopping cold air infiltration from electric switch and plug outlets by using draft blockers can also pay off.
- In addition, double-check all points where heat enters a room to make sure draperies, furniture or other obstacles do not interfere with the free-flow of heat.
- And, if you have already received a new smart meter, you can take advantage of viewing your detailed energy usage and customized energy savings tips located in your online account at oru.com to more effectively manage your household energy dollars.
What can residential customers do to further lower their energy costs?
- Shop for alternate energy suppliers which may or may not provide you with a cheaper price on energy purchases. For more information about energy shopping, go to www.oru.com and the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) website at www.newyorkpowertochoose.com.
- In addition, to better manage the monthly utility bill to avoid unpredictable bills that result from seasonal usage variations, sign up for O&R’s Budget Billing program. Budget Billing does not reduce your overall energy expense. It simply lets you spread out your annual energy expense over a 12-month period (with updates every six months) and lets you know ahead of time what your monthly payment will be. That makes managing the household budget much easier.
- And for convenient shopping for energy-saving household products, it’s hard to beat the My ORU Store www.myorustore.com. It’s a digital marketplace that offers O&R’s residential customers a wide variety of energy-saving household products including LED lights, water/energy saving devices, advanced power strips, smart thermostats and connected home products. Home services are available from local customer-recommended contractors offering furnace tune-ups and thermostat installations. For additional information about other energy efficiency and free winter energy saving tips, visit O&R’s website at www.oru.com/save.
O&R reminds the public that anyone who smells natural gas should leave the area immediately and call 911 or O&R’s emergency gas hotline at 1-800-533-LEAK (5325).