Washington Gas Expects Winter Bills To Increase And Encourages Customers To Prepare For Heating Season

Washington Gas announced today that its customers could expect a 20 percent increase in heating bills over last winter due to last year's mild winter weather. Natural gas prices may vary if temperatures are colder than anticipated and create an increased demand for natural gas. With an anticipated return to normal weather this winter, resulting in increased usage and higher bills, Washington Gas encourages customers to prepare accordingly for the heating season.

"We are committed to providing safe, reliable natural gas service to communities across the region while ensuring that our customers have the energy answers they need to stay warm this winter," said Adrian Chapman, President and Chief Operating Officer at Washington Gas. "Throughout the summer and fall, we have filled our natural gas storage services. These services are essential to meeting winter demand. We also maintain access to a diverse set of natural gas supply points to cost effectively serve our customers' needs under all weather conditions."

As utility bills can be hard to navigate, Washington Gas encourages customers to ask any questions that they have when bills arrive. In short, bills have three components:
  • The gas supplied to the customer (calculated and noted in " therms" in the Purchased Gas Charge section of the bill)
  • The cost of delivering the gas (labeled the Distribution Charge), and
  • The system charge, a fixed monthly amount that covers certain costs of providing natural gas service, such as maintenance and repair of critical infrastructure.

As a regulated utility, Washington Gas charges customers the same price that the company pays for the natural gas supply, transportation and storage. Taxes or other fees levied by state and local governments are also included as separate line items on the bill.

Customers will see a fluctuation in their bill amounts as seasons change, with more energy from natural gas being used in the coldest months of winter. So, as colder weather approaches, Washington Gas continues to encourage customers to prepare their homes by taking simple steps now to help manage energy costs and stay safe, warm and energy-smart when temperatures start to drop:

  • Change or clean your furnace or air filters once a month, and schedule an annual furnace or boiler check-up with a licensed professional.
  • Caulk and weather strip around doors and windows.
  • Install rubber gaskets behind outlet and switch plates.
  • Check dampers in unused fireplaces, and close them if they are open.
  • Turn the water heater down to warm or low settings, never more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Wash full loads of laundry in cold water, using specially-formulated cold water detergents.
  • Consider installing new, high-efficiency appliances and look for the ENERGY STAR label for efficiency ratings.
  • Consider purchasing a programmable thermostat, which automatically lowers the temperature setting at night and increases the setting during the day.

Always Safe!

At Washington Gas, safety is the number one priority. That is why it is particularly important that customers are aware of a winter hazard and what to do about it. Washington Gas strongly encourages anyone who smells gas to move to a safe location and call 911 and the Washington Gas emergency line at 703-750-1400.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, toxic gas, created when fossil fuels are not burned completely. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends putting CO detectors outside the bedrooms in each separate sleeping area of your home. Also recommended is the installation of smoke alarms on each level of your residence and inside every bedroom. For both types of devices, check batteries monthly and replace them at least twice a year.

Payment Plans

Washington Gas offers several payment plans and services to help manage energy costs. For those customers having difficulty paying their natural gas bills, contact Washington Gas as soon as possible to learn about alternative payment plans that may be available. Plans include:
  • The Washington Gas Budget Plan: This plan allows eligible customers to spread the cost of winter heating over the entire year. It helps to minimize the impact of typically higher seasonal bills and provides greater flexibility in managing a household budget. The Budget Plan is designed as a 12-month program, and we encourage customers to stay on it year-round to realize the potential benefits.
  • Customer Choice: This is an option for customers to buy their natural gas from a licensed energy supply company other than Washington Gas. Regardless of which company sells you natural gas, Washington Gas will continue to deliver the gas safely and reliably to your home through its distribution system, address your customer needs and respond around the clock to natural gas emergencies. For more information, visit washingtongas.com, place your cursor over MY ACCOUNT and click on Customer Choice.
  • The Washington Area Fuel Fund (WAFF): Founded by Washington Gas and administered by The Salvation Army, WAFF helps families who do not qualify for, or who have exhausted, government energy assistance. WAFF provides funds for all types of fuel to heat families' homes during the winter heating season. Washington Gas pays the administrative fees of the fund so 100 percent of WAFF donations go directly to those who need assistance. For more information or to apply for assistance, contact The Salvation Army at 888-318-WAFF (9233) or visit washingtonareafuelfund.org.

Further, if a customer or someone they know is having difficulty paying a natural gas bill in the District of Columbia, they can also contact the  Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) at 311 or online to determine eligibility for the following program:
  • Residential Essential Service (RES) Program: Eligible Washington, D.C. residents may qualify for a discount on a portion of the natural gas they use during the winter heating season from November 1 to April 30. To be eligible for the RES discount, residents must use natural gas as the principal source for home heating and be certified by DOEE as eligible for the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Once certified, eligible customers may participate in the RES program for one heating season and must reapply annually.

For additional information about energy assistance, the budget plan, energy efficiency, safety and more, visit washingtongas.com.

About Washington Gas

Washington Gas Light Company is a regulated natural gas utility providing safe, reliable natural gas service to more than 1.1 million customers in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. A subsidiary of WGL Holdings, Inc. (WGL), the company has been providing energy to residential, commercial and industrial customers for 168 years.

About WGL

WGL (NYSE: WGL), headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a leading source for clean, efficient and diverse energy solutions. With activities and assets across the U.S., WGL consists of Washington Gas, WGL Energy, WGL Midstream and Hampshire Gas. WGL provides options for natural gas, electricity, green power and energy services, including generation, storage, transportation, distribution, supply and efficiency. Our calling as a company is to make energy surprisingly easy for our employees, our community and all our customers. Whether you are a homeowner or renter, small business or multinational corporation, state and local or federal agency, WGL is here to provide Energy Answers. Ask Us. For more information, visit us at wgl.com.

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