Citizens Energy Group advised recently that the typical bill of Citizens Gas residential customers in Marion County will stay about the same this winter as compared to last winter, assuming normal temperatures.
The typical residential customer in Marion County will likely use 659 therms of natural gas from November through March, for a total bill of about $615. This compares to about $609 the typical customer would have spent last year.
Natural gas prices are not set by local utilities like Citizens Gas, but rather by the forces of supply and demand. In accordance with state law, Citizens Gas customers pay exactly what the utility pays for the natural gas that is delivered to them.
“Thanks to stable and relatively low natural gas prices, we are pleased customer bills will be about the same this winter as last,” said Carey Lykins, president and CEO of Citizens Energy Group. “However, we know a large number of customers will continue to need help paying their utility bills this year, given the continuing problems with the economy. Citizens will work with community partners to ensure all available energy assistance sources are directed to customers in need,” said Lykins.
Citizens is taking steps to help customers manage their energy costs:
• Energy Assistance – Citizens expects to fund more than $1.5 million in energy assistance for low-income customers this winter. The utility is also working with elected officials and regulators to find additional financial assistance for customers, while keeping payment programs and policies as flexible as possible.
• Budget Billing – This year, the utility will again open the Budget Plan to all customers who are current on their bill and have a satisfactory payment record. The Budget Plan spreads out the cost of winter heating into 12 equal monthly payments. Customers can enroll by paying the budget amount on their bill or by calling 924-3311.
• Citizens Energy Savers – Customers can find a variety of energy-saving tools at www.CitizensEnergySavers.com, including the Citizens Home Energy Advisor, a free online energy audit tool.
Also, Citizens will again be conducting a public information campaign to educate customers about home heating safety, energy assistance and energy conservation. Citizens urges all customers to have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their homes. The company will distribute free smoke alarms and information on home heating safety through a partnership with the Indianapolis Fire Department and the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance. Energy conservation will be promoted through various mediums including the company website, www.citizensgas.com. In addition, simple, low-cost measures customers can utilize to reduce their gas bill include:
- Replace your furnace filter – Changing your furnace filter once a month helps your furnace work more efficiently.
- Dial down your thermostat – A 10-degree reduction for an 8-hour period each day will reduce your heating bill 10 percent.
- Dial down the water heater – For each 10-degree reduction in water temperature, you can save up to five percent in energy costs.
Marion County residents in need of energy assistance should call Community Action of Greater Indianapolis at (317) 524-6966. People outside Marion County should call their local Community Action agency. Statewide customers can call Connect to Help at 211 for a variety of household assistance programs. Customers are also urged to contact Citizens, at (317) 924-3311, if they are behind on their gas bills.