Conservation Measures, Budget Billing, Other Tools Available

Rochester, NY – NYSEG and RG&E, subsidiaries of Iberdrola USA, remind customers not to let their guard down when it comes to taking actions to manage energy use and bills through the remainder of the winter.

“Our electricity and natural gas delivery rates have not increased since September 2012 and will remain at their current level at least through 2014,” said Mark S. Lynch, president and CEO of NYSEG and RG&E. “Meanwhile, the extremely cold weather has driven up energy use and the increased demand for energy has pushed up market-based commodity prices. Both of those factors mean higher bills.”

Just how cold has it been?
To get a sense of just how cold it has been, from November 1 through February 24, the average temperature across the NYSEG natural gas service area was 25.8 while the 10-year winter average temperature was 29.4; the average temperature this winter in Rochester has been 27.7 while the 10-year winter average temperature was 31.6. 

How are higher market-based commodity prices affecting bills?
• For a typical residential electricity customer who obtains supply from NYSEG or RG&E and uses 600 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month, February bills could be as much as 12% higher than December 2013 bills as a result of higher market-based commodity prices.

• For a typical residential natural gas customer who obtains supply from NYSEG or RG&E and uses 165 therms of natural gas per month, February bills could be as much as 11% higher than December 2013 bills as a result of higher market-based commodity prices.

 Note: About one out of every three NYSEG and RG&E customers obtains their electricity  and/or natural gas supply from an energy services company, or ESCO. For those  customers, while ESCO supply charges may appear on their NYSEG or RG&E bill,  NYSEG and RG&E have no knowledge of how ESCO supply charges are calculated  and are not privy to the arrangements any customer may have with an ESCO. Customers  of ESCOs should contact their ESCO with questions about supply charges.

“We encourage our customers to use energy wisely and consider services such as Budget Billing to help manage energy bills,” Lynch said.

Budget Billing
When a customer signs up for Budget Billing, NYSEG and RG&E divide the annual energy bill yearly bill into 12 equal payments. Every three months each Budget Billing account is reviewed and, if necessary, adjusted to ensure there is no large credit or balance due at the end of the Budget Billing year.

NYSEG and RG&E also offer electronic billing (eBill) and AutoPay services so customers can set up automatic payments; either service is an ideal complement to Budget Billing to take the worry out of remembering to pay utility bills. To sign up for Budget Billing, eBill or AutoPay services or for more information, NYSEG customers should visit nyseg.com and click on “Your Account” or call 800.572.1111; RG&E customers should visit rge.com and click on “Your Account” or call 800.743.2110.

Using Energy Wisely
Taking a few simple steps to control energy use, particularly during extreme weather conditions when energy use tends to spike, can help control winter bills. Here are some tips from NYSEG and RG&E:
• Set thermostats no higher than 70° and at 58° when you’re away from the house for more than a few hours or in bed for the night. (This may not be advisable if frail, ill or elderly people or infants are in the home.)
• Install automatic set back or programmable thermostats.
• Change or clean furnace filters once a month during the heating season.
• Since warm air rises, use registers to direct warm airflow across the floor.
• Close vents and doors in unused rooms and close fireplace dampers when not in use.
• Open draperies and blinds on sunny days to let the warmth in; close them at night to insulate against cold air outside.
• Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs that use up to 75% less energy and last up to 10 times as long.
• Use programmable timers to turn lights on/off.
• Turn off lights and electronics when not in use.
Hot Water
• Set water heater temperatures at 120° to cut water heating bills without sacrificing comfort.
• Install water-flow restrictors in showerheads and faucets.
• Limit the length of showers.
• Run washing machines and clothes dryers with a full load.

For more low-cost and no-cost energy-saving tips:
http://www.nyseg.com/UsageAndSafety/default.html http://www.rge.com/UsageAndSafety/default.html

For information on NYSEG and RG&E energy efficiency incentives and rebate programs:  http://www.nyseg.com/Energyefficiencyprograms/default.html http://www.rge.com/Energyefficiencyprograms/default.html

Customers who are having difficulty paying their bills are urged to contact NYSEG or RG&E right away (NYSEG: 888.315.1755; RG&E: 877.266.3492).