Breakdown: Why Mid-South residents should expect to spend more to keep their houses warm this winter

Published: Nov. 14, 2021 at 8:39 AM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Due to market forces, customers could see their total winter gas costs increase by 20% to 30%, according to Memphis, Light, Gas, and Water.

With steadily rising U.S. natural gas prices, MLGW customers can expect higher than average winter heating bills this season. U.S. natural gas prices for the upcoming winter are currently projected to be significantly higher than last winter. These are some of the highest prices in the last eight years.

Through risk management strategies, MLGW hedges purchase costs to protect customers in the event of rising natural gas prices. “These upward price trends have been driven by growing concerns of low winter storage levels across the U.S. If we don’t see a decrease in U.S. natural gas prices in the next several weeks, MLGW customers could see some of the highest winter gas bills in recent years,” said Jeff Sissom, Gas Portfolio Management Supervisor.

At current natural gas price levels, customers could expect to see their total winter months’ natural gas costs increasing by 20% to 30% over last winter’s natural gas cost.

While customers cannot control the market, they can find ways to conserve and save money, according to MLGW:

-Set your thermostat at 68° or lower when you’re home. Every degree below 68° can save four percent on your heating bills.

-Wear layered clothing and thick socks to keep warm, then set your thermostat even lower.

-At bedtime, lower your thermostat and add extra blankets.

-Lower or turn off thermostat when leaving your home for four hours or more.

-Close garage doors, cover foundation vents, and close off vents and doors to seldom-used rooms.

-Keep curtains and blinds closed at night and on cloudy days; open curtains on sunny days for warmth.

-Place rolled-up towels inside against bottom of exterior doors and window sills to block wintry drafts.

-Adjust your water heater temperature to 120° or “warm.” It still provides hot water and avoids scalding. You can lower it when not in use, too.

Low cost efforts:

-Buy a programmable thermostat and program in lower temps when needed.

-Make sure central heating air filters are replaced every 30-90 days.

-Caulk cracks around windows and doors.

-More costly, but savings can be much greater:

-Install storm windows and doors.

-Add more insulation in your attic.

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