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Get ready to pay (a lot) more to stay warm this winter

ROCHESTER, NY – The New York State Public Service Commission says it expects the state’s utilities will have adequate supplies of natural gas and electricity to meet the demand of residential and commercial customers in New York State, but with global commodity costs of natural gas, heating oil, and propane continuing to rise, customers will have to pay more for it this winter, compared to last.

On average, a residential electric customer using 600 kWh per month is expected to pay about $ 75 per month for supply this winter, up 42 percent from the same period a year ago. The average residential customer using 732 therms of natural gas can expect to pay about $ 240 per month during the winter heating season, up 29 percent from the same period a year ago.

Those are statewide averages. The western part of NYS may see lower electric rates because the region is closer to hydro and nuclear generators, but the gas side may be higher because it’s farther away from gas generators, so the numbers are intended to give New Yorkers an idea of ​​what to prepare for.

A colder-than-normal winter will also cause usage and bills to increase. Between financial hedges and gas held in storage, utilities have hedged approximately 53% of their estimated statewide customer needs, the rest will be bought on the open market throughout the heating season.

Staff at the Public Service Commission say they are continuing to track weather impacts, pipeline and storage assets and will work with the local distribution companies and communities to find solutions that increase environmental benefits while meeting customer expectations for their energy demands.

So what to do if you don’t think you’ll be able to afford your utility bills?

  • Beginning Nov. 1, applications will be accepted for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), which can provide up to $ 976 to eligible homeowners and renters depending on income, household size and how they heat their homes. To qualify for heating assistance from HEAP, a family of four must have a maximum gross monthly income of $ 5,485, or an annual gross income of $ 65,829

For more information: https://otda.ny.gov/programs/heap/contacts/

  • Consider bill payment options. When getting in touch with your utility provider, inquire about billing options that allow for deferred payments or “budget billing” options that balance out bills that are higher in one season and lower in another. This can structure your payments and make it easier to navigate costs.

For more information:

RG&E Customers: https://www.rge.com/account/billingoptions/budget-billing

NYSEG Customers: https://www.nyseg.com/wps/portal/nyseg/account/billingoptions/budgetbilling/

National Grid Customers: https://www.nationalgridus.com/upstate-ny-home/bill-help/budget-billing

  • Consider ways to ensure your home is as energy efficient as possible. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority offers energy-saving tips for residents and homeowners, as well as businesses that can lower energy usage. NYSERDA also offers a range of home energy efficiency programs that can help save energy and reduce costs over time. Income-eligible customers may qualify for reduced cost or free energy upgrades to their homes through EmPower New York and Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® programs.

For more information: https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Residential-Energy-Assessment-Programs

If you’re having trouble getting through to RG&E, file a complaint with the NYS Public Service Commission: https://www3.dps.ny.gov/W/PSCWeb.nsf/All/755C4F39A58C924C85257B2F0067FCA5?OpenDocument

RELATED: RG&E threatening to shut off customers for uninspected meters

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