Heat Conservation Tips to Help Lower Heating Costs
Winter Heating Season is Upon Us; Heat Conservation Tips to Help Lower Heating Costs
As onshore and global pressures on the cost of natural gas continue to impact customers globally, the City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities is encouraging customers to utilize heat conservation tips this winter heating season.
Natural gas prices are rising, and are based on many factors including storms and other weather variations as well as supply and demand. By federal law, the wholesale price of natural gas is unregulated and fluctuates with market conditions. The Purchased Gas Cost (PGC) is a component of the overall natural gas bill. This cost enables utilities to adjust on a regular basis the amount they charge their customers to reflect the actual cost of the gas used by those customers. By law, gas utilities must pass on the cost of natural gas purchased and delivered to customers, dollar for dollar, without any markup.
DPU charges Richmond Gas Works customers monthly for natural gas. The PGC is adjusted monthly to better reflect actual market conditions. Other components of the gas bill are the monthly service charge and a volumetric charge, both fixed rates set in July of each year. The current rates can be found here.
Heat Conservation Tips
Customers can manage usage and reduce bills by utilizing some of the following heat conservation recommendations:
- Cover drafty windows with heavy-duty, clear plastic sheets.
- Set thermostats to a low but comfortable temperature when at home and awake. When asleep or out of the house, set thermostats back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours.
- Consider installing a smart thermostat.
- Seal air leaks by caulking or adding weather stripping around leaky doors and windows.
- Schedule service for the heating system and replace filters monthly or as needed.
RGW customers who experience difficulty paying their natural gas bill may be eligible for bill payment assistance and are encouraged to seek help before bills become unmanageable. RGW offers information and programs year-round. RGW customers are also encouraged to enroll in the Equal Monthly Payment Plan (EMPP) to avoid seasonal fluctuations in their monthly bill or apply for assistance through the MetroCare Program, if needed:
- Equal Monthly Payment Program (EMPP) - Richmond Gas Works, in conjunction with the Department of Public Utilities, offers this program to create equal monthly payments based upon the aggregate annual customer bill each year. The EMPP works well because it provides customers with an opportunity to develop a monthly energy budget.
- MetroCare Program - This heating bill payment assistance program provides funds to eligible families and individuals who are having trouble paying their primary heating bills due to a financial difficulty or other special hardship. Residents within the RGW service territory may apply for funds through MetroCare.
More conservation recommendations along with information about EMPP, MetroCare, other convenient payment plans and energy assistance programs is available by visiting RichmondGasWorks.com. Customers may also learn more about the programs by calling the RGW Customer Care Center at (804) 646-4646.
Richmond Gas Works is dedicated to providing safe, reliable and competitively priced natural gas.