Experts advise people to save money now that energy bill costs are rising

While some companies have announced higher rates, energy experts say now is the time to start putting money aside for higher heating bills this winter.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Even if it hasn’t been too cold outside yet, that doesn’t mean it’s too early to prepare the heating for your house this winter.

Local utility companies attempted to warn customers of the higher bills.

According to Summit Utilities, customers in Arkansas will have to pay 30 cents more for gas than they did last winter.

“We feel the pinch everywhere we go,” said Lizzy Reinholt, SVP of Summit Utilities, Corporate Affairs, Sustainability, and Marketing.

We are about to feel this pinch in our energy bills as Summit Utilities announced rising gas costs.

Reinholt said the cost was up 20 cents from what it was in July

“This winter customers will see about $1.23 per CCF for natural gas, it was $1.03,” she added.

Although there is more than one thing to blame for the higher costs.

“Production has not reached pre-COVID-19 levels. On top of that supply and demand. With everything going on in Europe with conflict in Ukraine, we are seeing an increase in demand for natural gas,” Reinholt explained.

Reinholt said they try to keep costs as low as possible for customers, but there is no way to avoid this increase.

“We buy at lower rates and then put it in our system over the winter we’ve had, so we buy our gas in advance,” Reinholt said. “It’s important to know that Summit doesn’t make money on the cost of gas, it’s a direct pass to our customers.”

She explained that there are ways to lower your bills, however… She recommended people check their insulation now, so cold air doesn’t get inside.

“You can also invest in energy-efficient appliances, like energy-efficient stoves or water heaters that will reduce your overall energy consumption,” Reinholt added.

If you’re having trouble paying your bills, help is available.

Watershed’s Fred Hokes said he expects more people to call and ask for financial help this winter.

“It’s going to be a tough winter because we have a lot of people still renting the summer expenses they spent on utilities,” Hokes said.

Hokes mentioned that last year they helped at least 2,500 people.

“We have a great community partner that allows us to pay utility bills for people who are 60+ or ​​disabled, or if they’re under 60 and have a disabled child in the household,” he said. -he declares.

Regarding the energy market, Reinholt said it was difficult to predict whether costs would fall.

“I think our hope is that prices become less volatile and stabilize,” Reinholt said.

The US Department of Health and Human Services announced that $4.5 billion will go to the “Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program,” or LIHEAP, ahead of the winter season.

This money is not yet available here in Arkansas, but we will let you know when this application period opens.

If you are looking for help with your energy bills, please click here.

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