Get Ready Now for The Winter Heating Season; O&R - Planning Key To More Efficient Energy Use
Orange & Rockland (O&R) is urging its 130,000 natural gas customers to use energy efficiently this winter with bills projected to be higher than last winter.
The average residential gas-heating bill from November 2020 through March 2021 will be about $210 per month, up about 11 percent from last winter’s average monthly bill of approximately $190, according to the company’s projections. That estimate is based on average monthly usage of 161 ccf and assumes normal winter weather.
The increase is due to higher supply costs. O&R does not set supply costs and does not make a profit on the supply. The company analyzes supply and demand forecasts and uses a variety of buying methods, including short-term and long-term contracts, to get the best natural gas prices for its customers. O&R provides the commodity to customers at cost.
The key to controlling home energy costs is managing usage. That becomes more important with costs rising and residential customers spending more time at home due to the coronavirus pandemic.
To help O&R’s natural gas customers further manage their winter heating costs, O&R 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 efficiently burning heating system not only makes your natural gas dollars go farther, but it is cleaner and safer.
- Taking steps to tighten up insulation by using weather-stripping at all attic stairwells and access points and stopping cold air infiltration from electric switch and plug outlets by using draft blockers can also pay off.
- In addition, double-checking all points where heat enters a room to make sure, draperies, furniture or other obstacles do not interfere with the free flow of heat is a practical, easy way to help.
- 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 www.oru.com to more effectively manage your household energy dollars.
These tips, and other energy conservation and efficiency steps, gain greater importance if extreme cold weather, or other supply factors, create spikes in winter natural gas prices.
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. The My ORU Store makes saving energy and money, both easy and affordable.
- 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).
Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. (O&R), a wholly owned subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc., one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies, is a regulated utility. O&R provides electric service to approximately 300,000 customers in southeastern New York State (where its franchise name is Orange & Rockland) and northern New Jersey (where it’s Rockland Electric Company) and natural gas service to approximately 130,000 customers in New York.