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O&R: Heating Prices Rise as the Winter Approaches; Planning Remains the Key to Saving Money, Energy

Orange & Rockland (O&R) is urging its 130,000 natural gas and its 226,450 electric customers to use energy efficiently this winter with bills projected to be higher than last winter.

The increase is due mainly to higher natural gas supply costs for both natural gas and electric customers as natural gas is one of the main fuels that power the production of electricity.

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 cost of natural gas has increased as the demand for the commodity has increased, exports have increased, and severe weather has hindered production in the Gulf of Mexico area. These and other factors have caused a decline in the amount of gas in storage in the United States.

Based on comparing the forecasted winter 2021-2022 to the prior three-year average of bills, the following would be the increase:

A residential customer using on average 600 kWh per winter month will see an average monthly bill increase from $122.97 to $144.20, or 17.3% as compared to the average of the prior three winters. 

A residential customer using on average 177 Ccf per winter month will see an average monthly bill increase from $232.52 to $273.92, or 17.8% as compared to the average of the prior three winters.

The key to controlling home energy costs is managing usage. That becomes more important with costs rising.

To help O&R’s natural gas and electric customers further manage their winter energy costs, O&R offers the following

O&R Advises

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’s 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, you can take advantage of your smart meter by 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.

Those tips, and other energy conservation and efficiency steps, gain greater importance if extreme cold weather, or other supply factors develop over the winter.

What can residential customers do to further control 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. 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).

About Orange & Rockland

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.

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