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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Higher gas prices expected to drive up heating bills

  • Lower temperatures and higher natural gas costs could cause energy bills to rise this winter.
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    • Energy saving tips
      Westar Energy offers the following tips for reducing energy consumption and lowering energy bills.
      - Turn off everything not in use — lights, computers, etc.
      - Unplug ap...
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      Energy saving tips
      Westar Energy offers the following tips for reducing energy consumption and lowering energy bills.

      - Turn off everything not in use — lights, computers, etc.

      - Unplug appliances, such as TVs and DVD players or chargers for electronics like cell phones and hand-held games, which still consume power when plugged in but not turned on.

      - Reduce the time spent with doors and windows open during heating

      - In the winter, let the sun shine in by opening window coverings. Be sure to close them at night.

      - Lower the daytime thermostat in the winter, maintaining 68 to 70 degree Fahrenheit temperature.

      - Throw an extra blanket on the bed and lower the nighttime winter thermostat setting.

      - Inspect, clean or change furnace filters once a month.

      - Use pots and pans that fit the burners — small pans on small burners.

      - Use countertop cooking appliances when possible. A toaster oven or microwave will cost less to operate than heating a large oven.

      - Keep light fixtures clean. Dust can obstruct light output by as much as 25 percent.
  • Lower temperatures and higher natural gas costs could cause energy bills to rise this winter.
    According to the Associated Press, Kansas Gas Service expects customer bills to increase about 6 percent from November to May across the state. Cooler summer temperatures have increased the demand for natural gas, raising prices from historic lows.
    These rising costs could translate to higher energy bills, even for homes heated by electricity.
    The McPherson Board of Public Utilities has provided low-cost electricity to the county using coal and natural gas. Tim Maier, general manager of the board, said the rising cost of natural gas also will cause an increase in electricity prices, though he expects the cost to rise by only 1 or 2 percent.
    Maier said the best way to reduce energy bills in the short term is to lower thermostats in winter.
    In the long term, Maier suggested making homes more energy efficient. This includes making sure the home is well insulated and using energy-efficient fixtures and light bulbs.
    For those who struggle to pay energy bills, the Kansas Corporation Commission’s cold weather rule will be in effect Nov. 1 through March 31. It prohibits utility companies from disconnecting a customer’s natural gas or electric service when temperatures fall below 35 degrees.
    Help also may be available through local charities.
    BPU also can work with customers to set up payment arrangements and assistance.
    The Associated Press contributed to this story.
    Contact Josh Arnett by email at jarnett@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow him on Twitter @ArnettSentinel.

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