Jeannette Mills, Sr. VP and Chief Customer Officer
The price of natural gas and electricity continues to fall, which means potential savings for our customers. For the 2011 and 2012 winter season, the currently forecasted average natural gas commodity cost is about 60 cents per therm compared to last winter’s average price of 62 cents. Electric heating customers should be happy to know that the average price for electricity is 8.8 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) compared to 10 cents per kWh last winter season. With these reductions, the average gas customer’s total winter gas bill (Nov.1 – Mar. 31) should be about $556, compared to $584 last winter for the same gas usage; and the typical electric customer with an electric heat source will spend about $1,150 as opposed to the $1,240 cost of last winter for the same electric usage.
Anytime energy savings or increases are predicted, it’s important to know that several factors come into play, including weather patterns, your energy usage, and your home’s energy efficiency. Keep in mind, lower rates can still yield higher bills if usage is higher than normal.
This year, one factor that appears to be favorable for saving energy and money is the projected return to normal winter weather conditions. Do you remember last winter when we experienced a 5% colder–than- normal winter and record snow accumulations? According to WSI Weather Service, December alone was 58 percent colder than normal and the eighth coldest December since 1950.
Some of you may have recently heard that the Department of Energy is forecasting an increase in natural gas costs at the same time that BGE is projecting a decrease. Please understand that the DOE looks at the entire country and uses national data to determine its estimates, while BGE uses data specific to BGE’s service territory. If BGE’s service territory unfortunately experiences extreme cold or freezing temperatures, this will have likely have an impact on both prices and energy usage and heating bills will increase as a result.
So rather than rest on an expected normal winter, as a BGE customer, you can still further increase your potential for savings and energy cost management in a variety of ways including:
Our limited income customers may also qualify for assistance offered by state agencies and nonprofit organizations. Whatever way you decide to better manage your energy costs, we encourage you not wait until winter arrives to get started. Click the above links to learn more about our various programs or visit the Office of Home Energy Programs website or call 1-800-352-1446 to apply for energy assistance.
This winter, let’s not only take advantage of expected lower rates and forecasted normal weather to save energy and money, let’s also find ways we can work together to better manage energy costs, increase energy efficiency and maximize savings.