Here's what you need to know to prepare for cold weather

Tips from Piedmont Natural Gas can help you make your home more energy efficient

Even though winter brings colder temperatures, a high heating bill doesn’t have to sting. Piedmont Natural Gas customers can take steps to avoid a high-bill surprise.

The cost of natural gas has gone up worldwide since January 2021. Piedmont customers may notice higher bills this winter due to the higher natural gas prices and rate increases in North Carolina and South Carolina.

What you can do

  • Enroll in the Equal Payment Plan so your monthly bill is a set amount.
  • Make your home energy efficient. We can’t control how cold it will be, but customers can seal leaks and add insulation to keep the heat inside.
  • Customers can apply for bill assistance through the Low Income Energy Assistance Program and Share the Warmth.

Rate increases were approved by the utilities commissions in the two states to cover safety and infrastructure investments to ensure reliable service for customers.

Piedmont buys natural gas at the best price for customers and does not control the cost of natural gas or make a profit from natural gas, so the company is encouraging customers to be more energy efficient and avoid bill surprises.

“We’re asking customers to prepare now,” said Piedmont Natural Gas Senior Vice President Sasha Weintraub. “You can enroll in our Equal Payment Plan to level your bill over 12 months, and you can implement home improvement projects that can help you with energy saving during the winter.”

Weintraub said the company is working to improve access to programs for low-income customers and disadvantaged communities.

Customers who didn’t qualify for support in the past may be eligible now because of expanded eligibility criteria during the pandemic. Increased levels of assistance may be available for those who qualified and have already received help.

Many people are eligible for the Low Income Energy Assistance Program but do not apply. They can get help to pay for natural gas, electric and other methods customers use to heat their homes. Click the link for application information in Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.

“We recognize we still are in challenging economic times,” Weintraub said, “and we want to help people get through the winter.”

8 energy efficiency tips

  • Learn how to reduce energy use. Identify and prioritize energy-saving improvements with a certified audit or by performing your own energy audit. Start with this online energy advisor.
  • Seal your home. One of the quickest energy-saving tasks you can do is caulk, seal and weatherstrip all seams, cracks and openings to the outside and furnace and central air conditioner ducts. This can save 10% to 20% on your heating and cooling bills.
  • Install smart thermostats. Set your thermostat to the lowest comfortable setting. Installing a smart or programmable thermostat will reduce your energy use.
  • Manage water heating. Set your water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or consider installing an on-demand or tankless water heater that only heats water when you need it.
  • Consider insulation. Insulation in your ceiling, floors and walls reduces energy demand, saving you money while improving the comfort of your home.
  • Leave drapes or blinds open during sunny winter days to allow the sun to warm the house. Close them at night to help insulate your home.
  • Operate ceiling fans in a clockwise direction to push warm air down into the room.
  • Change air filters regularly. A dirty air filter makes a heating system work harder, which uses more energy.