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Volatile energy prices, coupled with a global supply shortage resulting from Russia’s war on the Ukraine, could begin hurting consumers not just at the gas pumps, but at home where rising costs of natural gas could increase home heating and electric bills. Along with crude oil, natural gas prices are also suffering from the war, sanctions on Russia and increased winter demand.
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The supply crunch on natural gas has made it more expensive for U.S. utilities to purchase or produce electricity, leading to higher than usual winter power bills, the Wall Street Journal reported. The price of natural gas and electricity have increased at a faster pace than inflation. The price of natural gas rose 24% year-over-year in February, while electricity rose 9%. In areas like the northeast, which rely heavily on natural gas for electricity, the price of electricity rose 16% in January, tapering off to a 6% increase in February, according to The Guardian.
Electric Bills Rise in Line with Supply Costs
In line with the increases, electric bills are rising. The Wall Street Journal reported that Consolidated Edition bills for New York City customers rose roughly 23% due to higher supply costs. Utilities are mandated to receive regulatory approval to increase rates, but regulators typically allow the providers to pass higher fuel costs onto consumers. Eversource Energy, serving customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, also increased rates and said residential customers could see bills increase by up to 25% through June.
Increases are happening on the West Coast, too, with San Diego Gas & Electric raising residential rates by 11.4%.
What You Can Do To Save Money on Electric
With spring on the horizon, people will have the opportunity to turn off their heat and open windows. Having your wall air conditioner or central AC system tuned up before summer can help reduce your electric bills as warmer weather rolls around. An AC tune-up can make your unit more energy efficient to help you save money, according to Four Seasons Heating and Air Conditioning. Energy Star statistics show that 13% of your home’s total energy bill goes toward cooling costs.
Consider closing blinds or curtains during mid-day in the summer, as well, especially on south-facing windows, to minimize heat transfer from the sun into your home. Using a power strip to turn off appliances and electronics when not in use can also help reduce your electric costs.
Finally, a smart thermostat can help regulate your home’s temperature year-round, further reducing energy costs. Two independent studies found that a smart …….