- Personal Finance
How to easily reduce and manage your heating bill
Have you been struggling to keep up with your heating bill this winter? Not only are heat bills high in general, but the heating costs are significantly higher in the winter months.
If you live in a house or an apartment and you have to take care of the heating bill yourself, you may be surprised at the end of every month. You probably take every precaution to keep the temperature at a reasonable range and turn it down at night, but you are still surprised by the large heating bill at the end of the month. Well, there is an easy solution to all this. Go put on some extra sweaters!! No, that's not the solution, although it does not hurt. We'll talk about tips another time.
What I'm talking about is getting signed up on an equal payment plan. It is free. Here in NJ, we have PSE&G, and that is what it is called. Your utilities company may call it something different, but I am sure all companies offer such a thing. Just go to the company's website or ask by phone.
So what is an equal payment plan? Well, it is basically just a plan where you pay a fixed amount based on your usage in the past. You set it up once and then you are done. For example, your utility company will look up your history and will get an overall average as to what you have been spending on heat. They will then charge you the average and that will be your monthly amount. They will usually do a yearly price adjustment based on your usage. So say you wasted the same amount of heat this year as last year, then your heating bill will stay the same. If you wasted more, then they will adjust it accordingly and that will be your new monthly charge.
I will give you an example based on what I was charged in the past. I signed up for it a few years ago. This was after I was being charged a hefty $400/month heat bill during the winter months. In the warmer months, my heat/hot water was only about $50/month. I didn't like to get this sort of uneven surprise. So I signed up for the equal payment plan. Now, I use the same amount of heat during the winter months since I still regulate the thermometer, and my heating bill is $130 every single month. Quite a difference, right??
I'd rather pay that fixed amount every month, and not have to struggle during the months that are cold. And no surprises. I have only been adjusted once. The first year I paid $126/month. I guess we used a little more than before, so then the following year I was adjusted to $130/month.
If by chance you end up using less than the previous year, you will be credited the amount as well, so there isn't anything to lose. I think this really is a great way to alleviate the higher heat bill that you are faced with during the winter months. So tell me, how many of you are on this sort of plan??