NEWARK, N.J., Oct. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- PSE&G's residential customers will pay less to heat their homes with natural gas this winter. On October 1, the state's largest utility lowered residential gas bills by an additional 3.6 percent, or about $42 per year for the typical residential customer.
Since January 2009, PSE&G's residential customers have benefited from nine bill reductions for supply as the cost of gas dropped about 39 percent -- resulting in a savings of approximately $674. PSE&G's average annual residential gas bill is the lowest in the state, and the commodity portion of that bill is about the same as what residential customers paid in 2002.
"Market prices for natural gas are at historic lows, due in part to availability of lower-cost shale gas," said Jorge Cardenas, vice president-asset management and centralized services. "We're pleased to pass along these savings to our customers at a time when the economy is still challenging." In addition to lower gas bills, low natural gas prices have resulted in lower residential electric bills because gas is one of the fuels used to generate electricity.The typical PSE&G residential customer who uses 1,050 therms of gas annually will pay $1,105.53, or about $42 less this year. The monthly winter bill for this same customer will be reduced to $168.38 from $173.56, for a savings of $5.18. A PSE&G residential customer who uses 1,000 therms of gas annually will pay $1,062.11, for a 3.5 percent savings of $38.27 a year. The average monthly winter bill for this same customer will be reduced to $168.09 from $172.92, for a savings of $4.83. The latest reduction comes in advance of cooler temperatures and as customers are preparing to keep their winter heating bills affordable. In addition to the price decrease, the utility offers suggestions for steps customers can take to reduce their costs even further.
- Check for sufficient water levels in the sight glass for hot water and steam heating systems to ensure maximum efficiency. Clean or replace the furnace filter on hot air heating systems.
- Lower your thermostat by just one degree, which may reduce your heating bill by up to 3 percent. Save even more by lowering your thermostat 2 degrees during the day and 5 to 10 degrees at bedtime if health conditions permit.
- Close dampers in fireplaces you don't use.
- Wrap the outlet pipe with inexpensive flexible insulating tubing to reduce the time it takes for hot water to reach your shower. Set your hot water heater to no more than 120 degrees.
- Move furniture and drapes away from heating registers, radiators, and baseboard element covers. Open any register or baseboard dampers.
- Cover window air conditioners to reduce drafts. Install insulated or lined drapes on your windows.
- Use weather stripping or one-sided sticky tape to seal up cracks and prevent drafts in windows and doorframes. Caulk smaller gaps. Beneath doors, install draft guards available at hardware stores.
- Use a shrink film insulation kit on really drafty windows or make one yourself from plastic sheeting and double-faced tape.
- Seal wall switches and electrical outlets with small foam gaskets available at home improvement centers and hardware stores. Remove the cover plate, insert the gasket, and screw the cover plate back in place.
- If you have a door leading outside from your basement, hang a full-size sheet of plastic from the door frame to keep heat from escaping. Seal windows in the basement with plastic to create a barrier against the cold. (Make sure you allow enough air supply to feed your fuel-burning appliances safely.)
- Keep your garage door closed if the garage is attached to the house.
- If your budget permits, install (or have installed) a programmable thermostat that you can set to automatically lower room temperatures when rooms are not in use and also at bedtime if health conditions permit.
- Visit PSE&G's Home Energy Toolkit at www.pseg.com/toolkit. You can calculate the energy efficiency of your home and find out how to save energy and money on appliances and heating systems.