With cold winter on the horizon, bring out the conservation tactics

Con Edison
All photos via Con Edison

If AccuWeather forecasts come true, we’re anticipating a cold and snowy winter. Coupled with recently implemented rate hikes for electricity, that means higher energy bills for New Yorkers.

Higher electric delivery costs means a New York City resident using 280 kilowatt hours a month this winter will pay about $117 — a 14 percent increase over last winter’s $103.

Con Edison

A Westchester County customer using 425 kilowatt hours a month can expect an average bill of $143 — an 11 percent increase over last winter’s $129. For a small commercial customer using 583 kilowatt hours per month, bills are projected to rise $9.

But there are ways to mitigate these increases — if you manage your usage with these tips:

● Set thermostats at the lowest comfortable temperature. Use 68°F as the benchmark — each degree below that decreases heating costs by 3%.

● Are heating vents blocked? Check if furniture or carpeting obstruct the flow of heat.

● Have a qualified contractor clean and inspect heating systems.

● Insulate hot-water pipes and warm-air ducts that pass through unheated areas.

● Clean or replace filters for the hot-air furnace and heat-pump.

● Swap out window shades seasonally. Light-colored window coverings in the summer reflect the sun’s energy, while darker ones in the winter absorb it and release heat.

● Replace conventional light bulbs with LED bulbs, which are up to 10 times more efficient.

● Optimize your refrigerator: Clean the coils yearly and set the temperature to 38°F to conserve energy.

● Use your dishwasher wisely. Run full loads, avoid special cycles, and air-dry or towel off clean dishes.

● Switching the temperature setting in your washer machine from hot to cold can cut per-load energy use in half. Aside from these conservation tips, other tools are available to New Yorkers to help ease the burden of higher bills.

Con Edison

Con Edison is offering payment assistance options, including budget billing, payment plans, and payment extensions. Budget billing, or Level Payment plan, allows you to avoid seasonal spikes by spreading your payments evenly across the year.

This is how it works:

● Con Edison projects how much your energy will cost for a year by analyzing your electric and/or gas use for the previous 12 months, weather trends, current rates, and energy supply costs.

● The annual cost is then divided by 12 to determine your monthly level payment amount.

● Once your plan is set up, you’ll usually pay the same amount every billing period for the next year.

A payment plan allows a customer to pay over time, rather than all at once. Payment extensions give customers up to 10 extra days to pay their bills.

Customers who receive benefits from certain government assistance programs can qualify for the company’s Energy Affordability Program, Coned.com/EAP.

Con Edison delivers electricity, natural gas and steam, and serves 3.6 million customers in New York City and Westchester County. For more information about conservation tips and lowering your energy bill, click here.