WASHINGTON - Baltimore Gas and Electric Company is telling its customers they can expect their second-lowest winter gas bill in a decade, despite the colder temperatures and increased usage that are expected.
"This is a result of stable, lower global natural gas prices and BGE's commodity acquisition strategy," said Jeannette M. Mills, vice president and chief customer officer for BGE.
BGE estimates that its natural gas commodity price will be approximately 60 cents per therm this winter heating season. However, customers will most likely use more natural gas this winter than they did during last winter's unseasonably warm weather, leading to a relative increase in residential total gas bills.
If actual weather conditions differ from forecasts, a customer's bill will vary accordingly and will depend on factors such as furnace condition and actual usage.
Due to the projected increase of customer usage, residential customers who purchase natural gas from BGE can expect to pay $9 more per month over the five- month winter heating season which spans Nov. 1 to March 31, 2013, compared with the same period last winter. It amounts to an increase of 11 percent in the total gas bill.
BGE offers the following tips to all customers looking to reduce energy consumption and lower their heating bills:
- Have the furnace checked by a licensed professional to be sure it is operating efficiently.
- Change the furnace filter regularly. A dirty filter forces the furnace to work harder.
- During the winter, for systems other than heat pumps, set thermostats at 68 degrees F, if health allows. This can help customers see a 3-4 percent decrease in energy use.
- Consider a programmable thermostat, which can save 10-25 percent in energy costs all year. Program to lower temperatures when no one is home in the winter and higher temperatures when no one is home in summer.
- Install an approved insulation blanket around the water heater and insulate the first three feet of water pipe. Remember to keep insulation at least 6 inches from the flue on gas water heaters.
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