As temperatures drop in Louisville, energy costs expected to rise | News
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Temperatures are dropping across Louisville, meaning colder weather is drawing near.
“It is really cold,” Juan Harris told WDRB News on his way to Louisville’s final basketball exhibition at the KFC Yum! Center.
Like many, Harris adjusted the thermostat this morning for the first time at home and at work.
But Harris, a clinical therapist in Louisville, is concerned about the cost of his heating bill as natural gas prices almost tripled this year, according to a new U.S. Energy Administration report.
“My patients, they were constantly concerned about the cold, and the way LG&E is trying to jack the prices up … I understand profit and margin,” he said.
Recently, the Kentucky Public Service Commission approved a rate increase for LG&E’s natural gas customers. That means customers who get natural gas from LG&E are going to see a rate increase.
It’s not a rate hike, according to LG&E officials, but an increase that happens quarterly because of its gas adjustment.
LG&E spokesperson Natasha Collins said the gas increase amount is a result of the industry’s current state.
“There’s been flat natural gas production, there’s been an increase (in) demand for natural gas as the nation recovers from the pandemic and there were below average supplies of the natural gas supplies and, additionally, exports of natural gas to other countries,” Collins explained, adding that what customers are seeing in their natural gas bills is that expense being passed on to them.
“A customer that uses an average of about 6,000 cubic feet of natural gas per month, they would see a year over year increase (2020-21) of $22.18 or about 33%,” she said.
Harris, who is also an Air Force veteran, says the additional $22 isn’t much for him, but may be worrisome for others.
“When you’re on a fixed income, that is going to be strain on a lot of people, especially the people that Louisville needs to be concerned about, which is the elderly, homeless, the veterans,” he said.
LG&E representatives say the new rate increases started Nov. 1 and will go through January 2022.
In the meantime, the utility company is offering the following money and heat-saving tips:
- Take steps to save energy: Weather conditions and everyday habits are primary factors impacting energy use at home or at work. These habits have been amplified during the pandemic, with more individuals working from home, cooking meals and participating in virtual learning. Applying caulking compound or weather stripping around doors and windows to keep warm air in and wintry temperatures out is a great first step to reduce energy usage.
- Get to know your HVAC system: Before your heating and cooling system can regulate the air to match your thermostat, it must first pull in air from outside. Imagine how much harder it has to work on the coldest days. Periodic inspections and maintenance from a local professional can help ensure your system is working at its optimum level. Regularly check your furnace filter and replace or clean it according to the package instructions. This can keep it running efficiently.
- Use the information at your fingertips: Whether enrolled in online paperless billing or receiving bills by mail, customers can access a wealth of information right on their monthly statements. Customers can compare their energy usage on a month-to-month and yearly basis and view an easy-to-read chart and detailed information specific to their energy-use habits.
- Personalize your experience: LG&E and KU encourage customers to contact them right away if in need of assistance managing their monthly bill. The utilities offer convenient self-service options online or through their automated phone system – access is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – for scheduling payment arrangements or signing up for services such as a budget payment plan.
- Check if assistance is available: LG&E and KU want to help connect their most vulnerable customers who may be eligible for available assistance in their local area. The utilities work year-round with local nonprofit agencies and community partners who administer financial assistance, such as the annual Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and the most recent COVID-19 relief efforts that are providing broader assistance to individuals who have been directly impacted by the pandemic.
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